During a strategic planning session at the AIHEC (www.aihec.org)board meeting, president Lionel Bordeaux of Sinte Gleska University discussed the words and vision of one of the founders of SGU, Stanley Red Bird, Sr., that tribal colleges would provide the leadership to redefine and restructure Indian education, that we would create new structures and approaches to education that are based on our spirituality, cultural values and customs. Stanley said we have the land and we are smart, we are people of intellect, strength and courage. He also spoke to the need to use this knowledge to also look at the form of our tribal governments and to go back to our traditional leadership practices.
We are challenged as Native people to live in our traditional ways in a contemporary environment. At this time of tremendous political turmoil in the national government, our tribal governments deserve our best efforts as tribal educators in support of sovereignty and tribal nationhood. We can be the researchers, teachers, program and assessment designers and community service providers who reinforce our traditional teachings, reach out to all tribal people’s regardless of residency and citizenship status and who build community knowledge of civic engagement.
Be informed about tribal issues, be active in your families and communities and encourage the practices that our ancestors used to live healthy and full lives.