White Earth Honors Student Activist

Aug 15th, 2001 | By | Category: 13-1: Honoring Our Students & Alumni, Tribal College News

A student known in her community as an advocate for special education, Anishinabe culture, and racial tolerance has been selected by White Earth Tribal & Community College (WETCC) as its student of the year. Therese Brown was awarded a scholarship by the American Indian College Fund at the annual tribal college conference in April.

A full-time mother and wife, Brown, 36, is also a fulltime employee at the local school working with special education students. Despite these other demands on her time, she was able to maintain a 3.58 grade point at her tribal college classes – and go fishing with her family. “Therese is very interested and eager to look for culturally relevant teaching methods,” according to Sandra J. Parsons, Ph.D., director of education at White Earth Tribal & Community College. “I believe that the path that she is on will lead her into great works as an Indian educator working toward equity and justice for all of the Indian students,” Parsons said. Now working on her special education degree at White Earth, she wants to get a master’s degree in education. She also has been involved in a women’s healing circle and the tribal college student senate.

Brown said, “I would like to talk to the youth to let them know they are the future leaders. I would like to get an ‘Undoing Racism’ training going at each of the tribal colleges. I feel that if American Indians understood racism they would be better able to fight and undo racism.”

Therese takes her job at the school seriously, too. “Therese is a major contributor to incorporating the Ojibwe culture into the school and curriculum,” said Mitchell J. Vogt, the principal of the school where she works as a paraprofessional in the special education program. She has spearheaded a number of cultural activities, including installing a prayer pole, bringing elders to the school to speak, and helping to plan the annual pow wow, according to Vogt.

Each tribal college selected an outstanding student based on community service and academic achievement. Students received scholarships from the American Indian College Fund. (To see the other students, go to < collegefund.org> and click on “students.”)

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