Listening to the tribal college presidents and their staff reminds me of the vision of our founders. As tribal colleges we must be focused on restoration of our tribal knowledge and practices while learning modern skills for managing our resources and practicing self governance. We use Woksape Oyate resources to grow our own Native faculty and administrative staff, support student leadership, developed academic programs and most importantly build on existing language, traditional knowledge and cultural programs.
This initiative has all the elements of a story – there is a rich history and present day experience of cultural abundance and devastating poverty, there are protagonists in the project leads and presidents, lots of primary characters in the faculty, students and staff, there are all the “shadow” characters in our Boards and community members. There is the structure to the story – the theme of building intellectual capacity that all of us were initially uncertain about, then the building of the story line which is the strategies and activities and the climax which is our accomplishments,outputs and data. We are defining intellectual capacity as our collective tribal knowledge and leadership. It is our Native voice in decision making, in all aspects of academic development and student support and in our relationships with our tribal communities.