Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven recognized Sitting Bull College and the other Tribal Colleges in a bipartisan legislation creating National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week. Heitkamp commented “The nation’s TCUs, which are tribally or federally chartered, operate more than 75 campuses and sites in 16 states. Yet, they remain virtually unknown to mainstream America. We hope that the adoption of this resolution will broaden the recognition of the TCUs as accredited, public institutions of higher education that are planting resilient seeds of hope for the future; nurturing and sustaining Native languages, cultures, and traditions; and helping to build tribal economies, governments, and a strong Native workforce, all of which will benefit not just Indian Country, but the nation, as a whole.”
Four Sitting Bull College students (see the photo of the four on the left) were highlighted by the American Indian College Fund’s website having had a chance to visit Washington DC in February and talk with members of Congress as they partook in AIHEC’s Winter Meeting. “I was so impressed with the initiative students made to find these connections” wrote the AICF reporter. To read more about the meeting and see other photos, click here.
The original article and photos shown below are by the American Indian College Fund and can be found at collegefund.org
Tribal College Week Brings TCU Students to D.C.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) winter meetings for Tribal College Presidents and Students. Each year representatives from the 37 different tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) meet up for an advocacy workshop and Capitol Hill visits. It was amazing to see 150 representatives in one room, ready to share their TCUs’ story. The students were especially inspiring. For many of them, this was their first visit to Washington, D.C. They were excited and eager to fill the halls of House and Senate building to share the importance of their TCU with their State’s representatives.
The students had prepared their two-three minute stories, shared and practiced with their fellow students, and were encouraging and proud of one another. Because so many TCUs are isolated, many students have never met one another. It was wonderful to see them make connections with other tribal college students and share their similarities and differences! I was so impressed with the initiative students made to find these connections with one another.
It was a wonderful experience to learn not only from our students but from other Native American organizations and supporters located in Washington, D.C. It was a great reminder that we are all seeking the same thing: to empower and strengthen Native Americans and their communities. Meeting to discuss and share our successes is important to achieving our goals. I hope to see this event grow with even more students and tribal college representatives attending. It is important to have this presence in Washington D.C. and to advocate for the importance of tribal colleges and universities.