Posts Tagged ‘Salish Kootenai College’

Salish Kootenai College in Pablo has been honored as one of the first four colleges and universities in the nation to receive a Champions of Access and Success Award from the Institute for Higher Education Policy.

SKC President Robert DePoe III (left) accepted the award in Washington (Photo by Char-Koosta News).

SKC President Robert DePoe III (left) accepted the award in Washington (Photo by Char-Koosta News).

The Char-Koosta News reports SKC was joined by the University of Texas at El Paso, St. Edwards University of Austin, Texas, and Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., as recipients of the inaugural awards.

Winners of the “Institutional Champions of Access and Success Awards” and “Champion of Champions Awards” include postsecondary institutions and individuals who have successfully advanced strategies that increase opportunity, persistence, and degree completion for low-income, first-generation, minority, veteran, and other underserved students.

Awards were presented during IHEP’s national policy summit at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. SKC President Robert DePoe III accepted the award for the college.

- Vince Devlin

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One of the most successful tribal colleges in America inaugurated a new president Wednesday.

Robert DePoe III wipes away a tear while delivering a speech during his inauguration as president of Salish Kootenai College on Wednesday in Pablo. DePoe has been on the job since summer and announced several new initiatives during the emotional ceremony. TOM BAUER/Missoulian

Robert DePoe III wipes away a tear while delivering a speech during his inauguration as president of Salish Kootenai College on Wednesday in Pablo. DePoe has been on the job since summer and announced several new initiatives during the emotional ceremony.
TOM BAUER/Missoulian

A tearful Robert DePoe III took his oath of office at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Mont., between two tepees and in front of hundreds of people in an events center named for one of his predecessors, the Missoulian reported.

DePoe takes over at what is widely considered one of the most successful tribal colleges in the nation, but one whose enrollment has fallen below 1,000 students recently.

He announced several new courses of action during his inauguration, including SKC joining a national community college program called Achieving the Dream that DePoe said would help SKC identify four campus-wide initiatives, with “every policy designed to help students succeed.”

“You are why we are here,” he told the students in attendance.

DePoe, a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, wiped away tears several times during the 2 1/2-hour ceremony. He and his family were led into the Joe McDonald Events Center by the Veterans’ Warrior Society and dancers in full regalia while SKC students drummed and sang.

McDonald, SKC’s president for more than 30 of its 36 years of existence, introduced DePoe, a former education director for the Paiute Tribe in Utah. DePoe was employed with the Bureau of Indian Affairs when the presidency came open.

He replaced Luana Ross, who abruptly resigned 13 months ago after two years on the job, citing “irreconcilable visions” between herself and the college’s board of directors.

“Education has no bias,” DePoe told the crowd. “It doesn’t care who we are or where we come from.”

- Vince Devlin

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Written by Vince Devlin, photographed by Kurt Wilson, of the Misosulian:

With the Mission Mountains shining in the background, members of the 10Sticks lacrosse club of the Flathead Reservation lift their sticks to break at the end of a recent practice. (Photo by KURT WILSON/Missoulian)


PABLO – Centuries before the sport was called lacrosse, it had people who played it, and what a game it was.

Up to 1,000 men at a time would grab sticks, and chase a ball over fields that could run for miles.
A single game could last 72 hours.

“I don’t know if this part is true,” Alex Alviar says, “but I’ve heard stories about it. They’d play for two to three days, and there were no boundaries, just goals that were three to five miles apart. They’d hide in trees with the ball, and I suppose they could run out at night and score a goal.”

Native Americans invented lacrosse – “The Creator’s game,” some of them called it – although it took a French Jesuit priest, Jean de Brebeuf, to give it its present-day moniker.

Brebeuf first saw Iroquois Indians play the game in 1637 and dubbed it la crosse, which in French, means “the stick.”

The field and number of players to a side (10) have shrunk in the centuries since, but lacrosse’s forerunner is very much a traditional Native game.

For Alviar, a teacher at Salish Kootenai College who grew up playing the sport in Detroit and continues to do so in Missoula, it didn’t seem right that as lacrosse began gaining popularity in Montana (see related story, Page A1), the state’s Indian reservations weren’t a part of it.

So he brought lacrosse to the Flathead Indian Reservation last year.

“What I’m seeing more and more of in my classrooms is a lot less male students,” Alviar says. “I wanted to create a program to give additional support to high school kids. I think it helps them with academics, with making healthy choices and emotionally, and that can help with them having higher educational goals.”

“Plus,” he adds, “it’s just fun. It’s a Native game, and they should be there.”

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Two bills signed into law this spring will help even out taxes for tribal entities, the Char-Koosta news reports. A lobbying effort from members of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes help ensure the passage of the bills.

    The first victory was the passage of House Bill 618, which provides for a property tax exemption for property owned by the Tribes if the property is used for essential governmental services. The passage of this bill puts the Tribal government on equal footing with cities, counties and the state where property is used for governmental purposes.

HB 618 will also help equalize tribal college tax exemptions and help clarify property size limits for the institutions.

    The next triumph was Senate Bill 412, which provides for a temporary tax exemption while the Tribes are transitioning tribally owned property from fee status to tribal Trust status. The federal fee-to-trust process is an expensive 17-step process with involvement of the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs and several contracted professionals.


Jenna Cederberg

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From Vince Devlin, of the Missoulian:

PABLO – An educational partnership agreement announced Wednesday morning between the Naval Undersea Warfare Center of Newport, R.I., and Salish Kootenai College here seemed to kill a lot more than two birds with one stone.

At its most basic level, the agreement will provide internships for SKC students who will assist with research and development of digital acoustic sensor technology at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center.

But that’s just the start.

It should also help the college recruit science, technology, engineering and mathematics students to its campus who can take advantage of the opportunity.

It will fund sabbaticals for SKC faculty members so that they can participate in the research.

That will help Luana Ross, first-year president of SKC, steer the tribal college in the “research institution” direction she is pursuing.

And the CEO who helped broker the agreement says the tribally owned company he runs benefits as well.

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There are few in the world of higher education who aren’t holding their breath as Congress and state legislatures talk cuts, cuts, cuts. And tribal colleges are no exception.

The Missoulian’s Vince Devlin examines what massive funding shortages could do to Salish Kootenai College, on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

SKC, arguably the most successful tribal college in the nation, could face up to $1 million in cuts, which would mean laying off faculty, and see a steep decline in student assistance funds.

    There’s been much talk about how proposed cuts at the federal and state levels will affect Montana’s university system, including its community colleges, SKC President Luana Ross says.

    But she’s seen little discussion about the potential effects on Montana’s tribal colleges.

    SKC is facing the loss of almost $500,000 in direct state and federal funds. If that happens, says Lon Whitaker, vice president of business affairs on the Pablo campus, the fallout – including higher tuition, which could lead to a drop in enrollment – could double the impact on the school, and take away job training and educational opportunities for people who need it most.

    . . .

    “The way out of poverty is education,” SKC’s president says. “That’s almost a no-brainer.”

Jenna Cederberg

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Information on how Native Americans in Montana can share in the recently approved $3.4 billion settlement of Indian Trust claims will be discussed at two newly-scheduled meetings in Montana next week, a new release from Elouise Cobell’s media director said.

On Tuesday, March 8, attorneys Bill Dorris and David Smith from the Kilpatrick Stockton law firm will discuss the settlement at 5 p.m. at the Browning High School Cafeteria, 105 Highway 89, in Browning.

At 5 p.m., on Wednesday, March 9, they will hold a meeting on Flathead Indian Reservation at the Johnny Arlee Victor Charlo Theater, building 83, 58138 Highway 93, in Pablo. This is on the Salish Kootenai College Campus.

Native Americans, whose families have individual Indian money trust accounts or who own individual Indian trust land, are welcome to attend these meetings regardless of their tribal affiliation and ask questions about the settlement.

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Nkwusm school director Rosie Matt pages through the second edition of the Salish Language Translation Dictionary in the language school’s storage room, a former bowling alley. Some 4,000 copies of the dictionary were printed in August. (Photo by Linda Thompson/Missoulian)

Nkwusm school director Rosie Matt pages through the second edition of the Salish Language Translation Dictionary in the language school’s storage room, a former bowling alley. Some 4,000 copies of the dictionary were printed in August. (Photo by Linda Thompson/Missoulian)

By JENNA CEDERBERG
of the Missoulian

Four thousand new doses of medicine for the Salish language arrived at the Nkwusm language immersion school in Arlee this summer.

The second edition of Nkwusm executive director Tachini Pete’s Salish language translation dictionary was printed in hardback form in August and copies are now being housed in the school where students learn the Native language each day.

The book, “Selis nyo?nuntn: Medicine for the Salish Language” includes English to Salish translations in the updated, streamlined form.

A scholar of the language for 16 years, Pete knows elders are elders and won’t be around forever. Around 50 fluent Salish speakers remain today, and few are under the age of 75.

“That’s always been my motivation, that other people could learn, not just me. I just want to provide the best tool they can have,” Pete said.

It’s the first time the language has been presented in this form so completely. Pete’s first edition was 186 pages long. The latest edition boasts 816 pages. It’s not only filled in with a treasure trove of new words and information, but it’s in a more useable form, Pete said.

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Working out of the television studios at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Frank Tyro has been producing public television programming on the Flathead Reservation since 1988. (Photo by KURT WILSON/Missoulian)

Working out of the television studios at Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Frank Tyro has been producing public television programming on the Flathead Reservation since 1988. (Photo by KURT WILSON/Missoulian)


Native-owned public TV station holding auction this week
KSKC-Public TV, broadcasting from its home on the Salish Kootenai College campus on the Flathead Indian Reservation, will kick off its annual fundraiser on Monday. The live broadcasts and auctions are legend in the area. You can get any number handmade, hand-painted items, or even a year’s worth of cookies (a dozen delivered to you each month), as the Missoulian’s Vince Devlin reported this week.

The TV station is only one of a few on Native-owned in the country. Station manager Frank Tyro keeps things running there, with local content and regular public TV programming.

Tune in to see for yourself this week (you can watch online, too!) and give to a good cause.

MTPR new director Sally Mauk talks with Native journalist Duncan McCue
Listen to the interview: Duncan McCue has been a TV reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the last 12 years, producing stories for the CBC’s flagship evening news program called “The National.” He’s also one of the few Native journalists in Canada. In this feature interview, McCue talks with News Director Sally Mauk about his career – and about reporting on Native issues.

Little Bighorn monument still awaits improvements
Its a popular monument in dire need of more space, and talks about upgrades first discussed almost 30 years ago at the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument are set to start again.
As the Billings Gazette reporter Lorna Thackeray reports, Battlefield Superintendent Kate Hammond has scheduled meetings to talk about fixing issues like museum overcrowding, park lot woes and a “chronologically backward” tourists roadway.

Hammond wants all stakeholders at the table. But that’s a tall order

    Moving forward has never been easy at the 1876 battlefield surrounded both by controversy and the Crow Reservation.

    Expanding park boundaries seems always to be the sticking point. In the past, the Crow Tribe has resisted efforts to enlarge the park, which Hammond said would require congressional approval. It is unlikely Congress would approve a boundary change without the tribe’s support.

    The Custer Battlefield Preservation Committee, a nonprofit organization set up with the idea of buying land for the National Park Service, has 3,500 acres of land it would love to donate, said Jim Court. Court is a former Little Bighorn Battlefield superintendent and was chief fundraiser for the Preservation Committee.

A ‘Good Day to Die’ wins another award
Received more good news from “A Good Day to Die” filmmaker Lynn Salt this week: The film, based on the story of Dennis Banks and the American Indian Movement (A.I.M.) movement he co-founded in 1968, won Best Documentary at the American Indian Film Institute Film Festival in San Francisco.

“We are moving toward distribution and will let you know when we have it,” Salt said in an e-mail.

Buffalo Post will keep readers updated as well.

Jenna Cederberg

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Teachers on and around reservations in Montana are singing the praises of a program implemented to beef up and make more interesting elementary science classes.

The Big Sky Science Partnership partners schools, Tribal communities and universities to help bring color and substance to science. As Ann Cantrell of the MSU news service reports, teachers involved receive tools from the program. The increased attention to science has inspired some teachers to get very creative.

Teacher Dora Hugs of Pryor invited Crow elders into her classroom to tell science-related stories about stars.

    The program is a collaboration of Montana State University, the University of Montana and Salish-Kootenai College, the lead collaborator. It trains science teachers on or near reservations in the state and is funded by a five-year, $4.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation. In addition to the original NSF grant, which was awarded in the fall of 2006, the program received a total of $900,000 in supplementary funding from the NSF Math and Science Partnership in 2008 and 2009.

    “The Big Sky Science Partnership is doing great things,” said Elisabeth Swanson, director of the project at MSU. “It works with teachers to help them feel more comfortable teaching physical sciences. It also helps teachers connect traditional science knowledge with topics that are culturally relevant, and to use inquiry-based teaching methods.” Inquiry-based teaching invites students to explore subjects by posing, investigating and answering questions, putting students’ questions at the center of the curriculum.

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