Woksape Oyate – wisdom of the people – the projects of the tribal colleges funded by the Lilly Foundation through the American Indian College Fund are being discussed at our gathering in Denver this weekend. What I have heard so far is a reaffirmation that our intellectual capital is gathering the knowledge that supports of the practice of traditional leadership and traditions. Many of the colleges focused on furthering the restorative practices of tribal language development, curriculum and leadership that is the vision of the founders of the tribal colleges. Our founders wanted us to use the knowledge and practices of our people along with contemporary skills to save ourselves from the debilitating experiences associated with property and it’s symptoms such as abuse and addictions.
I heard my colleagues speak with passion and good intentions of their continued learning and how they are passing it on to their current students and laying the foundation for learning for future generations. Some if the things I
* We are losing our languages but the people we are teaching are speaking right away and they are teaching others.
* They hear the language and it feels good on their ears.
* About our leadership, we bring personal wisdom and we learn from the wisdom of others.
* We are building institutional outcomes and the outcomes of the tribal college movement.
* Giving ourselves and our students, global experiences helps them with their understanding of our art and symbols.
My own personal use of the leadership development funds that the project provided were to go to the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Cusco, Peru and to further my research for eventual publication on the restorative change model of the TCUs. Despite the tiresome plane trips the bookended our visit and the altitude sickness, I shared my impressions of what it was like to visit a country where almost everybody is a person of color and the remarkable shared experience of indigenous people and educators from all over the world. My research opportunity has dramatically broadened my knowledge about what others are saying about the tribal colleges.