Power to the People: Tribal activists transform communitiesAug 15th, 2010 | By ptalahongva | Category: 22-1: Native Activism, Fall 2010, Features
When everyone told them it couldn’t be done, Joe McDonald, Ed.D., remembers how firmly tribal leaders stuck to their guns and helped draft federal legislation to fund the tribal college system.
When her own husband questioned her efforts to get a college degree, Alvena Oldman ignored his cutting remarks and kept on taking classes.
When people try to treat Indian students as victims and don’t set high standards for them, Cheryl Crazy Bull objects and insists that they can achieve, regardless of their age or circumstances.
And when one state university kicked him out for bad grades, Manley Begay, Jr., went back to his tribal college to seriously start his educational career. It led to a doctorate degree and to him being introduced these days as one of the most successful graduates of Navajo Community College (now known as Diné College).
Each of these people exemplifies activism, defined in the dictionary as “the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals.” Through education, these four have transformed themselves and strive to transform their communities.
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