Maori Visit Tribal Colleges to Trade IdeasFeb 15th, 2001 | By tcj | Category: 12-3: How to Build a Dream, Tribal College News
Following up on a historic meeting in Hilo, Hawaii, in 1999, several Maori education leaders from New Zealand traveled to the United States last fall. They visited Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Minnesota and Oglala Lakota College and Sinte Gleska University in South Dakota.
“We know that the best way to learn is from our peers,” Mana Forbes told the Cloquet Journal after visiting with Fond du Lac College president Lester “Jack” Briggs and faculty at the tribal college. “We consider these people our peers.” Both Briggs and Forbes agree that technology can play an important role in educating Native people. Forbes is the campus manager of Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Hamilton, New Zealand, one of three Maori post-secondary institutions known as wananga.
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium hopes to build a virtual library that will include material form the Maori tribes and tribes in the United Sates. This spring many of the tribal college presidents from North America plan to go to New Zealand to learn from the Maori wananga. The Maori would like to develop exchanges of students and faculty as well as exchanging ideas on subjects such as accreditation.
Before visiting the tribal colleges, the Maori went to Palo Alto, Calif., to meet with companies about technology in education. They hope to form distance learning classrooms throughout the communities. The Maori post-secondary institutions have been fully operational only since 1993, making them younger than most tribal colleges in the United States.
“The tribes here are very similar in their values, thinking, culture, stories, and history and so they have an immediate connection,” Trevor Moeke of the Te Mangai Paho Broadcasting told Indian Country Today. He expected the total enrollment at the various Maori campuses to reach 6,000 next year. (For more about the meeting in Hilo, see TCJ, Vol. XI, N.2, pp. 12-13.