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American Indian

GRADUATE Fall 2012

Inside this Issue: U President’s Message U A Message from the Director U Revitalizing Rural America U First Dentist from Zuni Pueblo U Taking Advantage of Financial Opportunities U An AIGC Art Donor Perspective U Improved Health for Future Generations

The American Indian Graduate is now available online at aigcs.org

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The American Indian Graduate Volume 11, Number 2



A Publication of the American Indian Graduate Center 3701 San Mateo Blvd., NE, #200 Albuquerque, NM 87110 Phone: (505) 881-4584 Fax: (505) 884-0427

Message from the President Turning Gratitude Into Scholarships

Website: aigcs.org

by David Mahooty, President, Board of Directors


Publisher Sam Deloria, Director

Message from the Director Indian Exceptionalism

Editors Susan Duran Linda Niezgodzki Stephine Poston

by Sam Deloria


In Memorium Dr. Agnes Mary Shattuck Dill

Production Editor Jim Weidlein

June 23, 1913 – March 17, 2012

Ms. Ruth Wheeler Roessel

April 15, 1934 – April 13, 2012


Design and Layout Carolyn S. Tate

Family Memories Uncle Joe

AIGC Board of Directors David Mahooty, President Zuni

by Carnell T Chosa

11 12

Spirit of Fellowship Diné College Establishes Alumni Association

Grayson B. Noley, Vice President Choctaw Melanie P. Fritzsche, Secretary-Treasurer Pueblo of Laguna

Revitalizing Rural America The OSM/VISTA TEAMS

Dee Ann DeRoin, M.D. Ioway Tribe of Kansas

by Elizabeth Lindner

15 16

First Dentist from Zuni Pueblo Perseverance and Achievement

Michael E. Bird Kewa/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Rose Graham Navajo

Member of the Buder Family My Native Identity Revealed

Danna R. Jackson Confederated Tribes of Salish & Kootenai

by Jackie Edwards


Capacity Building and Leadership Cultivation The Leadership Institute at Santa Fe Indian School

Cover: Faces of Higher Education

by Elizabeth Sumida Huaman

Continued on page 4

The American Indian Graduate




Taking Advantage of Financial Opportunities Overcoming Challenges by Vincent Werito, Ph.D.


Impacting On Our Communities Native Youth Take Charge


by Susan Duran


An Exciting Education Journey Throw Yourself In


Tribal Research The Institutional Review Board


An AIGC Art Donor Perspective Four Ways of Looking at an Indian Art Collection

AIGC Open House & Reception Celebrating Education and Tribes

AIGC Honors Friends and Supporters

by Leslie R. Randall


Anything is Possible An AIGC Accenture Scholar by Veronica Lane

by Elizabeth Anne Reese


First U.S. President to Recognize Sovereignty of the Nation’s Tribes The Nixon Legacy Forum by Jonathan Movroydis

by Veronica Lane


Alumni Connection The Alumni Connection


Call to Action from an AIGC Alumnus Grateful for AIGC by Terry Aguilar, Governor, San Ildefonso Pueblo

by Cate Stetson

30 31

Diversity of Thought The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Health Policy and Frybread RWJF Center for Native American Health Policy Focuses on Tribal Health and Education by Vanessa Baca


Improved Health for Future Generations Passion for Public Health Submitted by Melvin Monette

The American Indian Graduate is now available in electronic form. If you would prefer to receive an email copy of our publication, please let us know at

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Contact Us Mailing List: If you are not currently on our mailing list and would like to receive future issues, please call or write to the address below. Advertising: To advertise in The American Indian Graduate, please contact Linda Niezgodzki, or send an e-mail to: linda@aigcs.org Article Submissions: Submit all articles to Stephine Poston, Consulting Editor, for consideration. E-mail: stephposton@msn.com Reprints and Permissions: Reprints of published articles and/or artwork are prohibited without permission of the American Indian Graduate Center.


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American Indian Graduate Center, 3701 San Mateo Blvd., NE, #200 Albuquerque, NM 87110, (505) 881-4584 phone, (505) 884-0427 fax Visit us On-Line! www.aigcs.org 2012 AIGC, Inc. All rights reserved. Published submissions and advertisements do not necessarily reflect the view of AIGC, Inc.


Turning Gratitude Into Scholarships by David Mahooty, President, Board of Directors


remember well the tough decisions associated with my graduate degree – course selection, advisor changes, positions to take in paper writing and study group partnerships. As I progress in my career, like you, I may have forgotten other tough decisions associated with the high cost of higher education – new or used books, roommates or efficiency, parking pass or public transportation, pay for childcare or rely on family and friends, and gas or food? The latter decisions continue to be present for the young leaders who follow our examples in pursuing higher education. For many students, it’s scholarships that cover these peripheral costs and AIGC has supported students in higher education for more than 4 decades. Whether it be a business meeting, a tribal function or on the golf course, I run into so many AIGC alumni who express gratitude for the scholarship funding they received from AIGC. Often times, these AIGC alumni are leaders, movers and shakers or up and comers; to hear their success stories, in person, is incredibly gratifying. At the end of each conversation, I have the privilege to say, “I’m Dave Mahooty, President of the American Indian Graduate Center Board of Directors, and AIGC played a big part in my higher educational success.” Most students fresh out of a Master’s, PhD or other professional degree program are usually saddled with debt and often tell us that, when they get on their feet, AIGC will be high on their list for giving. That is completely understandable; however, those of us who have been in our career a number of years may now be in a position of giving so that other American Indian and Alaskan Native students will receive a scholarships through AIGC. Most of the AIGC alumni that I encounter are anxious to support AIGC and I’m calling AIGC alumni to action. Returning a small portion of your success to an organization that helped you get through the rough days

David Mahooty

of struggling ‘student-hood’ is not only the responsible thing to do, it’s also the right thing to do. Many of us have stories within our communities that remind us to consider future generations (often 7 generations). This cultural norm has been most recently applied to environmental concerns, but I challenge you to realize it’s education that contributes to the strength of a community, which includes environmental, educational, health, political, social and spiritual issues, among others. AIGC is proud to boast about 42 years of support for American Indian and Alaska Native scientists, educational professionals, health providers, community leaders, philanthropic agents of change, community caretakers, legal scholars and hundreds of other community roles we have supported. Please consider donating to AIGC. (See the back cover of this issue for “Ways to Give” to AIGC.) I want to send a BIG shout out to the alumni who give $100, $500, $2,500 and more, on an annual basis. It truly means a lot! Thank you. ✦

I run into so many AIGC alumni who express gratitude for the scholarship funding they received from AIGC. The American Indian Graduate



Indian Exceptionalism by Sam Deloria


have trouble with exceptionalism, which is the belief that one is a member of a unique race or society incomparable with others, to which the normal rules or even theories of history and human behavior somehow do not apply. I can’t begin to describe how bad it is for the country that American Exceptionalism is becoming a new litmus test for candidates and how bad it is for Indian people that an Indian Exceptionalism has established a strong position in the way we look at ourselves and the rest of the world. The word “unique” is often superficially declared to be an absolute: you are either unique or you’re not, nothing in between. The truth is quite the opposite – to call something unique is to tell us exactly nothing about it. Any entity is unique by virtue of being what it is and not something else. We begin to get useful information only when we answer the very first question that is asked when someone calls something, or someone, “unique”: in what way? Thus, the word “unique” is a relative term, not an absolute – unique compared to what? So, if you announce you are a member of a unique society – unique in what way, other than that it is yours and not another’s? What traits and experiences truly set you apart, other than that it is you we are talking about and not someone else? The significance of societies and individuals, becomes more evident as we see them in context, not isolation. I was raised knowing who I was and not feeling I had to put other people down as part of my identity. Yet, as a species, we seem unable to find a way to take pride in ourselves and in the society with which we identify without feeling we have to trash the other guy. I can’t bring myself

Sam Deloria

to insist that my own people are or need to be particularly special to anyone other than me, or us, our people. It seems that virtually every place I go these days someone is promoting an idea of Indian exceptionalism. In their effort to instill pride, many scholars and leaders, public intellectuals and the like, insist that the strengths of Indian societies are unprecedented in human history, as are the historical misfortunes. I attended a STEM conference not long after joining AIGC, to be informed, much to my astonishment, that “indigenous knowledge is superior to Western knowledge”! Why is this necessary and why haven’t more people noticed what an obvious sign of underlying insecurity it is? This is the stuff of parody! It reminds me of the days when the bureaucrats in the Soviet Union claimed to have invented everything, including baseball and country music! We are not the only people in history with knowledge of the natural world; not the only people with origin stories, with clan and kinship systems. We are not the first to believe we have been given revelations from another sphere or

I get a big boost out of working with young people. Their very energy makes me feel good. I want more young people to feel good about themselves and I think the way to do it is to reassure them that things can be better. 6

The American Indian Graduate

dimension. We are not the only people to have lost land and had their cultures brutally suppressed. Yet, we seem to be in a period of hysteria worthy of the Middle Ages in Europe, greatly exaggerating the importance of ourselves, our strengths and our troubles. It is bad to do this because it prevents us from learning from the examples and mistakes of others. We become stymied by the simplest obstacles, in large part because we cut ourselves off from the knowledge that much of what we face has been the lot of many, many peoples, throughout history and today. Recognizing that we are not so special, after all, frees us to look at our problems in perspective and to address them in calm and measured ways. I raised a minor stir the other day when I characterized some reactions to a bad court decision as “petulant”. But this is how many of us act and this is the standard by which many Indian and Native people measure themselves and others. People are free to be stupid in their own affairs. We are less free, however, when it comes to the messages we send the young people. We have young people who are optimistic, going to school or working, feeling good about themselves and their lives. And, we have young people in despair – we know the stories and the consequences we and they too often pay. Is it better to direct the young people’s attention to the fact, historical fact, that many people today have more serious problems than they do; that down through history many people have overcome worse handicaps; and that there are numerous opportunities for them to make the lives they want? Or is it better to make them feel that they are “absolutely” unique in the world and unique in history, that no one has been as abused and neglected as they and their people and that the world is out to get them? I get a big boost out of working with young people. Their very energy makes me feel good. I want more young people to feel good about themselves and I think the way to do it is to reassure them that things can be better. ✦

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The American Indian Graduate



Dr. Agnes Mary Shattuck Dill

Ms. Ruth Wheeler Roessel



June 23, 1913 – March 17, 2012

r. Agnes Mary Shattuck Dill, advocate for education, international peace and understanding and women’s rights, died on March 17, 2012, at the age of 98 years old. Agnes Mary Shattuck was born June 23, 1913 in Isleta Pueblo, the first child of Paul (Laguna Pueblo) and Beatrice (Abeita) Shattuck (Isleta Pueblo), and attended Albuquerque Indian School (AIS) between the ages of 8 and 16. As a teen, she worked briefly as a domestic helper. She knew there were other Native girls, just like her, working at menial jobs, while being qualified to do other things, and made herself a promise to do something about Native women’s education and employment. She spent her lifetime fulfilling that promise. When Agnes began attending UNM, only 14 American Indian students were enrolled in that institution. She also attended New Mexico Highlands University, where she graduated in 1937, with degrees in English and Art History. Agnes was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, from 1937-1948, taught primary, elementary and secondary education classes at four different Indian schools in Oklahoma. Ms. Shattuck left teaching to marry C.A. Dill and they remained in Oklahoma until 1965, at which time, due to Mr. Dill’s health, Mr. and Mrs. Dill returned to New Mexico (Mr. Dill died in 1970). Upon her return to New Mexico, Agnes chose a visible role as a vocal and respected voice, supporting cultural diversity and promoting Native health, the importance of education and free enterprise. In 1971, Dill helped found the North American Indian Women’s Association and served as its president from 1973 to 1975. She was also appointed to the National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs by President Gerald Ford, in 1975. In 1991, Agnes served on the New Mexico Indian Council on Aging and, in 1994 was selected as a Santa Fe ‘Living Treasure’. Dr. Dill’s received countless other accolades and awards for her service in many areas. While growing older gracefully, she was never idle. In 2010, Agnes received an honorary doctorate in Human Letters from the University of New Mexico – just about two weeks before her 97th birthday. ✦


The American Indian Graduate

April 15, 1934 – April 13, 2012

uth Wheeler Roessel, community leader, author, visionary in Navajo education and champion of Navajo teachings, died April 13, 2012, just days before her 78th birthday. Ruth Wheeler was born on April 15, 1934, in Round Rock, Arizona, to Ashi’ii and Hasbah Wheeler. As a young girl, Ms. Wheeler attended BIA boarding schools – an experience she did not enjoy – but an experience that eventually led her and her husband, the late Dr. Robert A. Roessel, to formulate new concepts in Navajo education, emphasizing a western-styled curriculum, blended with Navajo history, culture and language. Ruth met and married Robert Roessel while he was employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs as a teacher assigned to the Navajo reservation. They were marriage and educational partners for 50 years. Along with her husband, who died in 2006, Ms. Roessel, spent over 3 decades helping the Navajo people maintain cultural identity and to know and embrace their history and language. Together, the Roessels were instrumental in founding both the Rough Rock Demonstration School (1966) and the Navajo Community College, now Diné College (1968). Ms. Roessel’s long career included teaching at schools in Tolani Lake, Rough Rock, Chinle, Pinon and at Diné College. She was director of Native American Studies at Rough Rock Community School and principal at Round Rock Elementary School. She was active in the American Federation of Teachers, Navajo Women’s Association, North American Indian Women’s Association and the Arizona Women in Higher Education. ✦

(Lately, it seems as if every publication we pick up to read, informs us of the death of another Native author, historian, artist, advocate, activist or educator. The American Indian Graduate magazine will continue to highlight the educators and education advocates from among those individuals.)

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Uncle Joe by Carnell T Chosa


always looked forward to this gathering. Sometimes Uncle Joe’s visit was spontaneous. Other times it was because there was a cultural event, a name day or a family member’s birthday. In either case, it always involved food, usually fresh tortillas, something warm to drink and two influential male figures in my life; my grandfather, Guadalupe Chosa, and my granduncle, Joe Sando. What brought these two brothers-in-law together (Uncle Joe was my grandmother’s, Lupe Sando Chosa, youngest brother) was conversation about history, law, education, language, environment, family, health and memories of being in the war. It was a delicious exchange, usually including a debate, which included pressing issues that Pueblo people face. Through their inherent wisdom, respective community and professional roles, and combined experiences, they covered a wide range of perspectives, including my grandfather’s internal traditional education and practices and Uncle Joe’s external formal education and service. It was fascinating for me, as a young boy, all the way up through young adulthood, to recognize that both grandpa and Uncle Joe shared and exchanged ideas, beliefs and histories through the same “Pueblo” lens. I remember one particular heated exchange that focused on the value of education. Both men shared how much their educational paths meant to them - Uncle Joe’s experience, as one of the first Jemez Pueblo members to receive an advanced degree, and grandpa’s cultural training and education that began as a young boy in the Pueblo. The amazing similarity they expressed, of family and community education and of military training and service, was profound. What oftentimes started as heated conversation turned into a beautiful realization that all forms of education are very important to the advancement and sustainability of Native people. Their consensus was that we need our people to learn about traditional practices and ways, in order to protect and keep our culture alive within the community, but also to recognize that others are called for another challenging role, that is, to become educated outside of the community so they are able to protect us from detrimental outside forces and keep our history alive in many spaces.


The American Indian Graduate

Carnell Chosa and Joe S. Sando (Uncle Joe)

His work will help us protect what is most valuable to us – our land, our language and our history.

Uncle Joe, through his work and through his sacrifice, demonstrated his role as this protector and continues to be this protector today. His scholarship remains a valuable and guiding resource, which we must encourage one another, and future generations, to value and to read. His work will help us protect what is most valuable to us – our land, our language and our history. His work should inspire us to continue to exchange insightful conversation, both at the dinner table and in the classroom. His work makes us feel proud to be active participants in the strengthening of Pueblo communities. Uncle Joe passed away this past September, one year and twelve days after Grandpa Chosa. I sometimes wonder what these two are collaborating on to make our communities, our families and our personal lives stronger. ✦ (Carnell Chosa is Co-Director of The Leadership Institute. He is a graduate of Santa Fe Indian School, Dartmouth College and Harvard University.)


Diné College Establishes Alumni Association


ounded in 1968, Diné College is a public institution of higher education chartered by the Navajo Nation. It is the first tribally-controlled college. The college serves approximately 2,000 students each semester. Diné College is pleased to announce its Alumni Association. It will embark on its primary role to help promote the spirit of fellowship, among Diné College graduates and past students, to strengthen their relations with the college. The inaugural board members, who have strong ties to their alma mater, were announced at the commencement ceremony May 10, 2012. Courtney James has spent 12 years in Information Technology; ten years of her professional experience were at Diné College.

Charles J. Coffey has served at Diné College since 1994. He currently teaches business and computer information systems classes. Duane A. Hanley is currently a 6th grade teacher at Greaswood Springs, AZ. Annabell Bowen works as the coordinator for the ASU Office of Special Advisor to the President on American Indian Initiatives. Harrilene Yazzie currently works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, as Regional NEPA Coordinator. The Alumni Association works to engage alumni in the life of Diné College and its students and to hearten lifelong connections among alumni and support of the College’s goals. Mr. Daryl R. Begay is the College’s contact person for the alumni association. He may be reached at darbegay@dinecollege.edu. ✦

The American Indian Graduate



The OSM/VISTA TEAMS by Elizabeth Lindner

“The challenges our communities face in coal country and the hardrock mining West are unprecedented and, unfortunately, often overlooked. But, as we’ve been working with American Indian communities, it’s become clear that the problems we strive to alleviate are not much different from what these Indian communities want to do. That relevancy puts the OSM/VISTA Teams in a unique position to offer a wellestablished model for a new VISTA team centered around revitalizing Indian communities.” – T Allan Comp, Coordinator: OSM/VISTA Teams


n the Appalachian coalfields, acidic, metals-laden water coats streambeds with orange sediment, destroys aquatic habitat and renders waterways useless as economic and community resources. In the hardrock mining West, e. coli and metals, such as selenium, copper, iron and zinc, poison local streams. Due to a legacy of isolation and economic decline, this pollution runs rampant in many parts of the Appalachian coal country and Western hardrock mining region. The three million citizens that live within a mile of an abandoned mine site are not only facing these environmental threats, but also overwhelming economic challenges. The average median household income is around $30,000, compared with a $52,000 national average, with 30% living below the poverty line. In these regions devastated by the environmental legacy of pre-regulatory coal mining and economic decline, the nationally-recognized OSM/VISTA Teams, comprised of the Appalachian Coal Country Team (ACCT) and the Western Hardrock Watershed Team (WHWT), help to bring hope and valuable resources to rural communities by strengthening local organizations and developing partnerships from the ground up. OSM/ VISTA Team members live and work onsite, enabling their community group to reclaim and revitalize communities in ways that are self-sustaining. By fostering the capacity-building needed to access available reclamation resources, the OSM/VISTA Teams are building the necessary bridge between environmental and economic problem-solving.


The American Indian Graduate

An AmeriCorps*VISTA team similar to the OSM/ VISTA Teams have invaluable benefits for communities facing the challenges of poverty and seeking productive ways to reinvigorate their localities. A well run VISTA team, modeled after the OSM/VISTA Teams, would combat poverty by strengthening participating organizations and their communities by providing a year long, full-time college graduate who can build the organization’s capacity and provide a long-term foundation for sustainable development. To encourage this success, OSM/VISTAs are guided by five core goals set by the Teams and take on the goal of building

OSM/VISTA, Barry Gibbs, with students from Dartmouth College and Professor Jerome Whitington, conduct water quality monitoring in Mullens, WV.

capacity and sustainability for their organization, project and community. In an effort to engage his community in revitalization, one of the OSM/VISTA Teams’ core goals, OSM/ VISTA Nik Gualco helped secure $10,000.00 in funding, through the New Mexico Centennial Foundation, to start a community garden on Navajo lands. Gualco, who is placed with the Rio Puerco Alliance in New Mexico, has been looking for opportunities to develop community gardens in regions considered to be food deserts. Gualco has helped forge an agreement between RPA and Torreon Chapter to work together on implementing a community garden project. The funding will be used to construct community garden plots in the Eastern Navajo Nation chapters of Torreon and Ojo Encino. The RPA hopes to use the community garden projects as a way of moving towards a larger goal of restoring food production capabilities within the tribal chapters. Confronting the challenge of food in tribal and rural communities is one way the OSM/VISTA Teams’ efforts and successes would be a useful model for implementing a larger VISTA team. While the OSM/VISTA Teams take pride in their dedication to assist rural communities, a unique strength of the Teams and a component critical to any VISTA team, is the direct support provided to OSM/VISTAs. The Teams strive to make the experience beneficial for every individual and endeavor to foster an environment that allows each OSM/VISTA to grow both personally and professionally during his/her service. Each Team has a Support Office that acts as a tangible support system for OSM/VISTAs. Furthermore, the Teams strive to offer beneficial opportunities to OSM/VISTAs. Recently, the OSM/ VISTA Teams began a Masters Program with Michigan Technological University. Current OSM/VISTAs and current Michigan Tech students can serve a year on the OSM/VISTA Teams, attend the university for a year, complete a second year of service and return for as little as a semester at the university to earn a Masters in a variety of subjects. The two education awards provided by the two years of service will closely match the cost of tuition at Michigan Tech. This is a model the OSM/

Volunteers build a trail with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte.

VISTA Teams hope to duplicate at other universities and one that could be used by other VISTA teams seeking to offer amenities to strengthen their recruiting, retention and overall VISTA experience. On top of the significant professional opportunities a year with the OSM/VISTA Teams produce, the Teams’ effort to produce a cohesive Team has been successful. A high majority of OSM/VISTA Alumni are in touch with other former OSM/VISTAs, demonstrating that the year leads to long-term friendships. Former OSM/VISTA, Joe Campbell, confirmed a deep impression of the people he met during his term of service, stating, “The quality of the people and the degree of service to their communities within this network served as a positive example for me, at the time, and continues to inspire me in the work I currently do.” The caliber of OSM/VISTAs and their accomplishments have been acknowledged by host organizations and communities, demonstrating that a VISTA team that seeks out high quality and competitive applicants will earn the team recognition and ensure an exceptional quality of work. A benefit many OSM/VISTA supervisors have found in working with the OSM/VISTA

By fostering the capacity-building needed to access available reclamation resources, the OSM/VISTA Teams are building the necessary bridge between environmental and economic problem-solving.

The American Indian Graduate



OSM/VISTA, Debby Ludwig, conducts an environmental education class in Lisbon, OH.

Teams is that every OSM/VISTA attends biannual training and is instructed in grant writing and public speaking, to ensure every individual is well-equipped and able to contribute to his/her community. This commitment is distinctive of the OSM/VISTA Teams, but one that has literally paid for itself by the significant amount of grants earned by OSM/VISTAs every year. In the past year, OSM/VISTAs have generated on average $17,355 per site from in-kind donations, a real measure of effective partnerships that led to sustainable projects and secured more than $1.57 million dollars in grants. This funding purchased water monitoring equipment; supported watershed planning, research, and restoration projects; supported environmental education and outreach; created community gardens; enhanced community redevelopment projects and provided critical operational funding. To ensure the retention of talented individuals for the OSM/VISTA Teams, several factors are necessary when recruiting new host organizations. Communities/ organizations must contribute a cost-match of $7,000.00 for a full-time, year-long college graduate OSM/VISTA:

a fraction of the real cost of an OSM/VISTA, which amounts to approximately $25,000.00. In addition, each OSM/VISTA requires a supervisor – someone who is in contact with that OSM/VISTA on a daily basis and an affordable, local place to live: $300.00 a month or less. Organizations and communities that would like to host an OSM/VISTA must submit a clear project plan intended for that OSM/VISTA for twelve months. Aspiring VISTA teams may find these factors useful when building a strong team. Hosting an OSM/VISTA has been a clear investment for many organizations and a benefit that reverberated throughout their communities for years. The support for OSM/VISTAs and host communities/organizations has made this program successful and earned the Teams several national awards and honorable recognitions, including the Department of the Interior’s 2011 Environmental Achievement Award. For aspiring VISTA teams, the OSM/VISTA Teams provide a model of ten years of experience and proven, successful techniques in a grassroots, community-based effort to alleviate poverty. ✦

OSM/VISTAs, Danny Allgeier and Scott Fanello, pose with a recent catch.

Hosting an OSM/VISTA has been a clear investment for many organizations and a benefit that reverberated throughout their communities for years. 14

The American Indian Graduate


Perseverance and Achievement by Zellisha Quam


he moment was very surreal. Nine years of school coming to this final end? Graduation was certainly the most memorable moment in my life. To be hooded, as the first Zuni dentist, by Dr. George Blue Spruce, the first Native American dentist was a true honor and milestone. I had always had an interest in learning about human anatomy and physiology. As a child, the TV’s attraction to paper was my X-Ray and my grandmother’s jacket was my white coat. During my senior year in high school, I was accepted at Northern Arizona University. I sat at the kitchen table and watched as my famZellisha Quam ily read my acceptance letter. I saw the smiles on their faces and realized I was going to be the first in my family to attend college. I was excited, but also nervous to leave the reservation for the first time in my life. My interest in the health field led me to shadow various health professionals. While shadowing a dentist at the I.H.S dental clinic in Albuquerque, I realized the significant oral health disparity among American Indians and Alaska Natives. A big part of this disparity is due to inadequate access to preventive and restorative dental care among reservations across the country. This point ignited my interest in dentistry and I started working hard to make my childhood dreams of playing make-belief doctor into reality. The road to dental school was certainly not an easy one. There were many sleepless nights studying for tests, exams, boards and competencies. School was challenging and many times I was faced with obstacles that seemed impossible to overcome. However, with hard

AIGC helped to ease the financial burden by providing me with a fellowship all 4 years of dental school. Moreover, the encouragement and advice from mentors was monumental in helping me achieve my goal.

work comes perseverance and achievement. I graduated, with a Bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry, from the University of New Mexico and graduated with a dual degree, Doctor of Dental Medicine and Master in Public Health, from the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health in Mesa, Arizona. I am currently a dental resident at the University of New Mexico Advanced Education in General Dentistry program. This long road could not have been possible without the support from my family, friends and loved ones. AIGC helped to ease the financial burden by providing me with a fellowship all 4 years of dental school. Moreover, the encouragement and advice from mentors was monumental in helping me achieve my goal. I hope to, one day, be an inspiration for young American Indians seeking higher education. As quoted from Dr. George Blue Spruce, a mentor and the first American Indian dentist, “Our Indian people need you” and most certainly they do. It is imperative to increase the amount of American Indian physicians, dentists and public health advocates. American Indians are currently facing numerous health disparities and it is up to us to do something about it. I have always had a strong desire to improve the quality of life for American Indians. I didn’t realize 9 years of school was going to go by so fast. It is a wonderful blessing to know that I have completed a major goal in my life; however, it is the beginning of a new chapter as an American Indian clinician and public health advocate. This is not the end, it is just the beginning. ✦

The American Indian Graduate



My Native Identity Revealed by Jackie Edwards


s I begin to put words to paper, I reflect on my journey and how this led me to seek a Masters of Social Work degree at Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout my life, I have tended to be a wanderer, sure that I wanted to do something impactful in the world, but not quite knowing how or when I would begin such a plan. I had a true desire to create change through social work, but did not know how it would materialize, or who, precisely, I would serve in the future. I had always known of my Cherokee-Choctaw ancestry and recognized it to be a source of pride; yet, it was a part of my family I knew little about and also linked with feelings of shame that can be traced back to my grandmother’s generation. I recall hearing stories of my greatgrandfather instructing his grandchildren (my father and his siblings) that it was neither necessary nor appropriate to claim their Native ancestry. After all, he would remind them, with their pale skin and weak resemblance to their Native ancestors, no one would really believe them. I knew the Native part of my family history, but didn’t truly seek out what it meant to be Native until I reached graduate school. This is, in part, due to the lack of information my family had, due to the shame connected to our Native roots. Reflecting back on when I began graduate school, I would have no idea the future path I would take and how my personal identity as a Native person would spill into my professional career. Growing up in a small mountain town in Northern California, I was not raised in a Native community and went to school in a predominantly white area. I had little connection to anything Native, much less Cherokeespecific. Though I yearned to know more about this unique piece of who I was, I was never directly encouraged to learn more or to investigate further. With these unspoken messages from my family, I did not aggressively pursue my family history and kept this information to myself for as long as I can remember. I recall the fear of what people might say if I were to reveal my Native ancestry. I was always afraid of the judgments


The American Indian Graduate

Jackie Edwards

Reflecting back to when I began graduate school, I would have no idea the future path I would take, and how my personal identity as a Native person would spill into my professional career.

that people might make because I do not have the “traditional” Native look. I, myself, thought it seemed foolish to advertise such information to people, to claim such an identity that I would not be able to prove, aside from a blood quantum card sanctioned by the federal government. The fear of being seen as fraudulent prevented me from taking Native classes during college, or pursuing Native-based campus groups. I felt that if I were to pursue such groups, I should at least be able to support it with knowledge of American Indian culture, since I did not look the part. Though I had never announced my family heritage, I would never shy away from claiming both Caucasian and Native ancestry on census sheets of all kinds. Interestingly, filling out a census sheet led me to the Buder Center. Due to filling out the census sheets as I did, when I applied to the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis,

I had no idea that it would eventually lead me to the Buder family. Upon applying, I was unaware of the Kathryn M. Buder Scholarship, which is awarded to American Indian graduate students dedicated to returning to their Native communities and serving them after graduation. I was unaware of the privilege and opportunity it bears for the American Indian recipient. It was unbeknownst to me that a simple check of a box would soon open opportunities I never assumed possible, both financially and academically. Upon acceptance to Washington University, I packed up my things and dragged my signifiJackie Edwards, right, and friends cant other 2,300 miles, to our destination of St. Louis, in the spring of 2010. We braved the merciless humidity and I attempted to prepare myself for their family history, along with a strong identity in terms what I thought grad school would be, until I attended the of who they were as Native students. However, I was surBuder Center orientation that following Fall. I was hesiprised and a bit overwhelmed with the warm reception I tant to attend, as I did not know for certain that I would received from the Buder staff and second-year students !"#$%&'()*(+%'(),$'+-'.#)/#(.#$)0!*,/1)!+)) ) arrival.))))))))) want to belong to such a group. I was afraid that many upon my Continued on page 21 would have intimidating amounts of information about

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The American Indian Graduate



The Leadership Institute at Santa Fe Indian School by Elizabeth Sumida Huaman


he Leadership Institute at the Santa Fe Indian School has been quietly working to build a solid foundation for capacity building and leadership cultivation in Indian Country, using community-based priorities and culturally-based approaches, for over a decade. The program design of visionary co-founders, Carnell Chosa (Jemez Pueblo) and Regis Pecos (Cochiti Pueblo), originally stemmed from the need to bring tribal people together to discuss, debate and re-frame the most critical issues of our time—linking priorities at home with a voice in the process towards understanding selfdetermination at multiple levels for the purpose of protecting an Indigenous way of life. Since 1997, the Leadership Institute has created spaces for discourse on a wide range of public policy and tribal community issues challenging the vitality and spirit of New Mexico’s tribal nations. The work of the Institute has been to: 1) to provide sustainable opportunities for the appreciation of the uniqueness of Indigenous cultures, traditions, the arts, governance, health and economic development within the context of a changing global society; 2) to provide meaningful and solution-oriented opportunities for engagement in intellectual discourse regarding critical Indigenous issues of our time and 3) to transform the impacts of externally-developed policy on tribal community institutions by nurturing current and emerging intergenerational Indigenous leaders. Based in New Mexico, the Leadership Institute has worked to address historical inequalities through policy awareness, analysis and recommendations at all levels—tribal, local, state and national—which has led to consciousness building about tribal issues, creating and maintaining a system of networking, promoting intergenerational mentorship opportunities and providing enrichment opportunities for tribal members. In short, the Institute approach can be summarized as cultivating generations of tribal community members through leadership, community service, public policy and critical thinking.


The American Indian Graduate

Known for their Community Institutes, modeled after a think-tank approach to tribal dialogue and exchange, the Institute has also established programs that promote their vision of capacity building at multiple levels of community—in particular impacting high school and college students and girls programming. Most notably, the Institute has co-produced the Senior Honors Project at the Santa Fe Indian School, Brave Girls, American Indian Higher Education Resources (AIHER), Pueblo PhD Cohort and the Summer Policy Academy. The Summer Policy Academy (SPA) was created by Institute co-Director, Carnell Chosa, as part of his Community Initiative as part of the Americans for Indian Opportunity Ambassador’s program. He recalls his own college experiences on the East Coast. “There were times when I was the only Indian person in class and I would be asked by the professor or my peers to speak about us—meaning to talk about the issues of pretty much all Native people. That can be really tough for someone who is just 18 and may have never left home before, now suddenly being asked to be knowledgeable about and basically represent Indigenous people. SPA grew out of that—being put on the spot—because, as Indigenous people today, we cannot lose the opportunity to speak respectfully and knowledgeably about the

things that are impacting our grandmothers and grandfathers, our homelands, our schools and our youth.” SPA is now a four-year program designed to take a cohort of approximately 25 students, beginning in high school, through curriculum; focusing first on tribal and federal Indian policy, pressing issues in Congress, community internships and international experiences. In Year I, partnered with the University of New Mexico School of Law and Center for Native American Health, rising high school juniors and seniors are exposed to current tribal challenges, as well as strengths. These students design and carry out a community service project that demonstrates their commitment to building on those tribal strengths. In Year II, led by Co-director, Regis Pecos, through a partnership with the Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, students spend two weeks on the Princeton campus, taking intensive coursework in preparation for a visit to Capitol Hill for a presentation to their legislators on issues as complex as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), environmental legislation impacting tribes today, Native language revitalization and pending education bills. In Year III, led by Dalene Coriz (Santo Domingo Pueblo), in partnerships with tribal communities, local organizations and colleges, students are provided with internship opportunities for on-the-ground training in their area of interest. In Year IV, which will be launched in the Winter of 2012, students will work with international partners to engage in the exchange of shared struggles, but most importantly, shared solutions to those struggles. As a signature Institute program, SPA has built each year of its curriculum using a culturally and community-based approach— which prioritizes local Indigenous knowledge and where community members serve

as faculty. This approach involving Indigenous philosophies and practices of intergenerational collaboration are reflective of the core values, framework and principles of leadership and recognition of the unique existing and potential contributions that tribal youth bring with them. Perhaps one of the most meaningful things about SPA is the program’s profound usage of Pueblo Indian and other Indigenous philosophies that acknowledge the sacredness of young people and their development— the belief that all people are gifted and that all have the right to rich opportunities that cultivate those gifts. An artist, a writer, a scientist, a farmer and so forth—the convergence of identities, historical and contemporary issues, rigorous curriculum, creativity nourished and the active practice of service to one’s community all result in impacting young minds and their hearts. ✦ Elizabeth Sumida Huaman is the Senior Researcher/Writer for the Leadership Institute

The American Indian Graduate



Overcoming Challenges by Vincent Werito, Ph.D.


am Taâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;neeszahnii (Tangle clan), born for Naakai Dineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;e (Mexican clan). My maternal grandparents are Kinlichiinii (Red House clan) and my paternal grandparents are Todichiinii (Bitterwater clan). I am originally from the Torreon/Ojo Encino area in the eastern part of the Navajo reservation. As an Indigenous educator and scholar, I am familiar with many issues in American Indian Education to feel comfortable in writing about the challenges that college students face and the ways that they can overcome these challenges. In the past, my professional work with Indian Education involved providing professional development for teachers and Native language teachers to identify effective culturally relevant classroom strategies when working with Native American students, English language learners, and other minority students. Currently, in my teaching, I share my experiences and use the knowledge that I have gained over the years as a teacher to help other teachers implement effective language and educational programs that are culturally relevant to Indigenous communities. As a first generation Native American doctoral student and now as a new faculty member at the University of New Mexico, I have also gained some valuable insights into the challenges of being an underprivileged and under-represented student and junior faculty member of color in the academy. For example, in terms of financing a college education, a big challenge had always been finding the right sources of funding for my education and being aware of the process of applying for scholarships or fellowships on time and paying application fees, which add up very quickly. Unfortunately, many times, I had to resort to loan programs to fund my education because I did not follow this advice. Another challenge, as a person of color, is the burden of always having to raise the issues about race, class and/or gender inequalities, especially when some colleagues choose not to understand the issues that students of color face on a daily basis. It is always difficult to express to others where you are coming from because of your unique


The American Indian Graduate

Vincent Werito

I am very thankful to the American Indian Graduate Center when I needed money for my education.

cultural, linguistic and racial identity, when they downplay your experiences, without getting too frustrated. Despite many of these types of challenges, I have found that there are ways to overcome them and take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to students of color. For example, I am very thankful to the American Indian Graduate Center when I needed money for my education. Organizations like AIGC have been very instrumental to the success of many other American Indian college students by providing the opportunities to apply for their scholarship programs. In addition to taking advantage of these types of financial opportunities that are available to students of color, I believe that it is also very important for students to remember that part of getting an education is not only about becoming successful, but to know and remind

yourself that you are now on equal footing with other more privileged students and to be proud of your linguistic and cultural heritage despite the challenges. It is important to remember that our parents and grandparents, despite the many obstacles that they faced, always remembered where they came from and what they wanted, not only for themselves but for future generations. While this idea of ‘knowing where you come from and where you are going’ may sound like a cliché to some people, the idea involves the notion of critical consciousness-raising and Native Nation-building. Also, this idea is vital to maintaining and revitalizing Native (Indigenous) languages, rearticulating traditional Indigenous cultural knowledge and to reasserting an Indigenous (Native) identity today. Finally, I think it is very important to understand cultural diversity within Indigenous

communities to find the commonalities that we share and to retain the essential qualities that make our families, communities and tribal groups (Native nations) unique. This is a strategic essentialism that is needed today to help the next generation find those commonalities with the rest of the world, while maintaining and retaining those qualities that make us Dine, Lakota, Pueblo or any other tribal group. Without these teachings of respect and relationships that develop critical thinking and reflection, a college education may very well be fruitless and unrewarding because it lacks the intimate spiritual knowledge that Indigenous and other students need to become holistic in mind, body and spirit. ✦

My Native Identity Revealed

for older Native adults that I would like to give back. They’ve taught us what it means to be Native, from their own interpretation and it would be a personal honor to advocate for them during times when their voices may be limited. Through the course work at Washington University, I have chosen to individualize my studies through taking clinical courses not only in gerontology, but mental health, as the two marry well together within the social work discipline. Through my education, I have not only developed a strong foundation for Native Americans in social work, but also the biopsychosocial issues that plague our elders from a mental health perspective, and how to approach their growing needs within their community. As I begin to draw my studies to a close, I reflect on my time here as unexpected. I never imagined that I would take on such a feverish interest in clinical areas of study regarding mental health and gerontology with American Indian elders. Throughout these past two years as a member of the Buder family, I have found immense support from Buder Scholars as well as the staff who helped to ensure I had everything I needed to succeed. It was great to find such a strong support system from the first day that I was warmly welcomed at their annual Buder reception in late August of 2010. Without the assistance from the Buder family, I might have continued my journey as a wanderer. These days I don’t feel quite so lost. ✦

Continued from page 17

I experienced a range of emotions, during my first semester with the Buder family, as I came to terms with my family history, which forced me to ascertain where I stood with it on a personal and professional level. I became interested in squeezing as much information as I could from my family about everything they knew of our history. When paired with a working knowledge of American Indians within the biopsychosocial academic framework, I felt as though this might be an area where I could see myself applying such knowledge. As I pushed through my first year at Washington University, I developed a strong calling to work with older Natives. I had always viewed the elders in my family to be a source of storytelling, particularly my grandmother. To me, she was the center of my family’s life and provided me with her own interpretation of what it meant to identify as Native. As my knowledge base of all things Native began to grow, I felt more confident in my decision to study American Indian elder issues. Since last year, I have developed a passion to work with older adults, not only because they are seen as keepers of wisdom within their families, but also because they deserve the best that we can give them when in need of social services. They are truly our connection to our family’s past and without them, we would not have that link that binds us. It is also because of my unending respect

Vincent Werito is an Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico, College of Education

The American Indian Graduate



Native Youth Take Charge by Veronica Lane


a’at’eeh, my name is Veronica Lane and I am from the Navajo Nation. I am originally from Twin Lakes, New Mexico, but currently live in the Denver, Colorado area. I graduated from Tohatchi High School in Tohatchi, New Mexico and then received my Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Fort Lewis College, in Durango, Colorado, where I majored in Accounting and minored in Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship. Currently, I work for United Stationers as a Senior Financial Analyst and just finished the first year of my Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program, at the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business. To date in my professional career, I have mostly worked in the finance industry. My first employment opportunity was with R.V. Kuhns & Associates, as a Senior Investment Analyst in Portland, Oregon, and next I was employed by OmniWealth Ltd., as a Financial Administrator in Denver, Colorado. My future plans continue to focus in the business field, as I plan to move to the East coast to pursue an employment opportunity, once I graduate with my MBA degree in 2013. I also plan on furthering my education, with a Doctorate in Business Administration degree. I hope to continuously build upon my professional experience in order to create a strong foundation that will position me for my ultimate career goal, which is to return home and work for the Navajo Nation, while giving back to the community through volunteer efforts. At this time in my life, I feel that I finally have the experience and knowledge to share and help others interested in pursuing any type of higher education. In the last year, I have begun to work towards giving back to my Native American community in a couple of ways, the first of which is volunteering my time to be a guest speaker and

Board Member with the Native Youth Take Charge (NYTC) Organization. It is because of my education that I am interested and involved with this organization, because it focusVeronica Lane es on promoting the benefits of higher education within the Native American community. During the June 2012 second annual NYTC event, I spoke on a panel about my college experience and provided advice on topics I felt were important to students who were leaving home for the first time. I desire to make a positive impact and hope my story will give others the courage to take that step to pursue any type of higher education, because I truly believe anything is possible and everyone has an opportunity to succeed. Based on my personal life experiences and what I have accomplished thus far in my career, both academically and professionally, it is without a doubt that I value the importance of higher education. The personal obstacles that I faced, growing up where I did, has instilled in me the drive and determination to work hard, be respectful and never take anything for granted. I take immense pride in representing the Navajo Nation as a strong, independent, Native American woman and am very motivated and serious about giving back to the Native American community in any way I can. I am excited and looking forward to the growth and future success of the NYTC organization. My goal for the younger Native American generations is to have them far surpass what those of us today have done, so they can make greater impacts on our communities and our people. ✦ Veronica Lane is a NYTC Board Member and Volunteer

I hope to continuously build upon my professional experience in order to create a strong foundation that will position me for my ultimate career goal, which is to return home and work for the Navajo Nation, while giving back to the community through volunteer efforts. 22

The American Indian Graduate

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Throw Yourself In by Elizabeth Anne Reese


hold a pinch of cornmeal in my palm. I put my thoughts and prayers into it and throw it. Into the fire, over the drums, onto a shrine, I throw a part of myself in with the cornmeal. Do you want to know how I have survived my educational journey? It’s simple: I threw myself in. I threw my ideas into classroom discussions, I threw my passion into my service work, I threw my best arguments into my papers and I threw my heart into my friendships. Then I hoped and prayed that, by throwing my entire self into the arena, I hadn’t just jumped off a cliff. I walked onto Yale University’s campus, as a freshman, when I was sixteen years old. Suffice it to say, I was intimidated. My freshman dorm looked like the real version of Cinderella’s Castle from Disneyland. My roommates were the daughters of an Academy Award winning screenwriter and a United States Senator, respectively. In my very first class at Yale, one of my peers actually started his comment with the phrase, “When I read it in the original ancient Greek…” Now I know this is the part of my story where I’m supposed to say that I thought to myself, “Crap! What am I doing here?!” or “How did I get into this place?” But I didn’t, because, thankfully, I have had amazing support throughout my life that helped me believe that I have something to offer this world and that belief has been fundamentally important to my success and, more importantly, to my happiness. You, too, have something to offer. If you don’t believe it already, start believing it now, because American Indian people are never going to convince American society we have knowledge to offer, if we don’t believe it with confidence and assertiveness ourselves. So, on that first day of class at Yale, I raised my hand and spoke. I don’t remember what I said, but no one laughed me back to the Rez, so it must have been ok. The first thing I did, after that class, was place a call to my parents. They met each other while teaching at the Santa Fe Indian School and, although they have devoted their lives to education, my decision to attend Yale was still beyond their comfort zone. I was smart and


The American Indian Graduate

Elizabeth Anne Reese

did well in school, but they never pressured me to succeed nor expected me to go to a top university. When it came time to apply for colleges, we didn’t know much about what my options would be. College Horizons encouraged me to apply to their summer program designed to help Native students through the college application process. When I arrived at the program, for the first time in my life I was surrounded by other smart, motivated, collegebound Native kids. The feeling of solidarity among the College Horizons students was inspiring; I no longer felt so alone. I worked closely on my application, with the recruiter from the Harvard University Native American Program, and I can still vividly remember him telling me that I should seriously consider what the Ivy League could offer me and that I had more than a good shot at getting in. The following fall I applied to colleges, visited and fell in love with Yale University, which just so happened to be 2,111 miles from Nambe Pueblo. Being a traditional Nambe Pueblo woman away at school is a juggling act. I am away at school so that I can make a difference in Indian Country but, while away, I miss the ceremonies and my family. That first year of school I missed New Mexican food so much I lost seven pounds. I also cried – a lot. Studied – a lot. Laughed a lot and slept, well, not so much. My Yale experience was hard and miserable at times, but joyous and inspiring

at others. I was fundamentally supported and loved by many people and communities while at Yale. I learned so much about other Indian people from the Native American Community at Yale. Starting with a chance encounter with the Yale University Chaplain, my sophomore year I began to do multi-faith, community building and advocacy work at Yale. I learned how humbling and empowering it is to talk honestly and respectfully to someone who disagrees with you. I no longer see battles, but rather opportunities to build alliances or my own understanding. During my senior year at Yale, my grandparents, my aunt and three cousins made the trip from New Mexico to my Yale graduation. They watched as I won one of the ten or so Yale college-wide awards presented at Commencement, for my service to the Yale Community. I am exceptionally proud of that moment. My family came to see me not only graduate from Yale, but walk across the stage in front of 20,000 people, and they heard a Yale official describe how love for my Nambe tribal community drove me to become an advocate worthy of university-wide honor. Lesson: If you throw yourself in, you might just kick ass. After my Yale graduation, I received the Udall Foundation Native American Congressional Internship, where I worked in the D.C. office of New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman. I loved it there and was in the process of negotiating a way to stay on in the office, when I got a call that my grandmother was sick. I dropped everything in D.C. and moved in with my grandma, to take care of her full-time, for three months. This is one of the most important things I have ever done. After her miraculous recovery, I began thinking about my next career/educational step and ran into a friend from the American Indian Graduate Center. He said, “What about Cambridge?” According to the Google search I conducted that evening, Cambridge is the top University in the world, so I said I would think about it. By the end of the week, I was in touch with someone at the Cambridge Overseas Trust, who encouraged me to apply for their scholarship. Now, a little less than a year later, I am applying for a student visa.

I’m going to pursue a Masters in Political Thought and Intellectual History, where I, undoubtedly, will encounter more people referencing the original ancient Greek translation of a classic, but am throwing in what I have to offer. At Cambridge, I will study the intersections of Christianity and American Indian religion, politics and philosophy. Somewhat inspired by the challenges and questions I have had working with different religions, I will write a dissertation called, “Searching for Post-Colonial Redemption: The Influences of Christianity on American Indian Activism.” I will examine the influence of Christianity on American Indian leaders and intellectuals in the period of American Indian political activism of the 1960s and 1970s. Specifically, I will examine the implementation and limitations of Christian rhetoric by a few Indian leaders, as they argued for continued cultural and political survival of Indian people, within the American political landscape. Grandma can’t believe I found somewhere even farther away to go to graduate school. She jokes she will buy me a car – if I don’t go to Cambridge. It has been five years since that sixteen-year-old walked onto Yale’s Campus but, looking ahead toward Cambridge, I feel much the same way. I found the only University that looks even more like a Disney Castle than Yale. Am I nervous? Yes. Intimidated? Yes. Afraid? Yes. But, I’m supported by my family, friends and mentors. I’m a traditional Pueblo woman grounded in my culture and confident in my abilities – and I’m going to throw myself in. ✦ (In May 2011, AIGC management personnel met with representatives, Michael O’Sullivan and Hilary Perrott, from the Cambridge Commonwealth Trust & Cambridge Overseas Trust, to discuss increasing the presence of American Indian and Alaska Native students on their campus in Oxford, England. As a result of that meeting, Ms. Reese has been offered, and has accepted, an opportunity to attend Cambridge in the fall of 2012. AIGC is honored to have had the Trust contact us with their request and looks forward to connecting more highly qualified students with this esteemed organization.)

You, too, have something to offer. If you don’t believe it already, start believing it now, because American Indian people are never going to convince American society we have knowledge to offer, if we don’t believe it with confidence and assertiveness ourselves. The American Indian Graduate



The Institutional Review Board by Leslie R. Randall


esearch has always been a subject of intense interest in Tribal Communities and a major means of protection is the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Three individuals come to mind as proponents of protection of research subjects and extending it further to include tribal communities: William Freeman, MD, MPH; Phillip Smith, MD, MPH and Philip “Sam” Deloria. Each has provided insight into how research affects American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN’s) and each has contributed to the understanding and protection of human subjects within the context of tribal/ aboriginal communities. These men have done their best to implement and practice these ideals through word and example, each in his own unique and, oftentimes, thought-provoking way. Research for students is a given. Students are exposed to research through literature reviews, essays and proposals on various subjects, as they progress through school to their ultimate goal of bachelors, masters or doctoral degrees. At each stage, they encounter higher standards of ethics, research and commitment to the science of the subject they are exploring. Ultimately, they submit their research proposals to IRB’s, where their research is deemed to involve human subjects or not. Each IRB examines the research for three criteria: 1. Respect for Persons; 2. Beneficence and 3. Justice. As Freeman, Smith and Deloria have maintained, each category does not stop at persons, but extends to communities when it comes to tribal research. Indian Health Service (IHS) defines research as: … the term “research” includes (1) basic and clinical research, (2) behavioral studies, (3) anthropological studies, (4) the development of clinical and public health methods and techniques for practical application to the Indian Health program, and (5) studies to determine the extent of special health problems, or solutions thereof… and, if a student decides to conduct studies within this system, they abide by this definition. If a student decides to conduct research within the tribal system, the Model Tribal Research Code, developed by Philip S. Deloria, is often the guide used by tribes. Many tribes use this for their own research agenda, codes and research IRB’s and,


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Institutional Review Boards (IRB) are responsible for the review and approval of all research activities involving human subjects. IRB’s are charged with protecting the rights and welfare of human subjects to ensure that all are treated physically, psychologically and socially in such a way as to minimize embarrassment and stress, and to avoid harm or other negative effects in compliance with the federal, state and university regulations.

while the code was written over a decade ago, its tenets are still applicable to tribal communities today. As Mr. Deloria states: “Many, if not most, researchers are sincere and dedicated professionals who want to help Indian communities solve their health and social problems and preserve their cultural heritage and, in the process, be sensitive to the legitimate needs of the individuals and communities with which they work. But governments, unfortunately, cannot assume that everyone will act according to the highest standards. Legislation is necessary where there are, or might be, problems affecting society in an important way.” (excerpt from Model Research Code, http://www.nptao.arizona. edu/research/NPTAOResearchProtocolsWebPage / AILawCenterModelCode.pdf) Mr. Deloria and Dr. Freeman covered this aspect of research and IRB in this year’s IHS IRB workshop in Seattle, held in conjunction with the 24th Annual Native Health Research Conference. While Dr. Smith was not at this year’s workshop, several speakers brought up his name, along with those of Mr. Deloria and Dr. Freeman. In his testimony to the DHHS, National Center for Vital and Health Statistics, Subcommittee on Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security on April 17, 2012, Dr. Smith says it best: “Of all the things that I think when I work with the tribes, I tell them they have the ultimate authority. Research as a whole is usually elective. You don’t need to do it. It is a good thing to do it. It is the right thing to do, but it is elective. And you could always say no.” Each of these men has influenced and molded thinking on tribal research and IRB’s and the workshop reflected that influence. This year’s conference theme was “Asking Permission to Come Ashore: Journeys to Indigenous Health and Health Research.” As Dr. Smith’s remarks highlight, this is one of the first things that we do as

researchers: ask permission to do the research, respect the community and the tribe. As a student, it is one of the first things that you learn from your mentors, older Native researchers who have learned it from previous teachers. The conference brought together individuals who discussed and argued their views on what going through this process meant to them. Asking permission is the first step to conducting good research with any community, as a student and as a future researcher. The Native Research Network, Inc. (NRN) was established in 1997 and is a 501(c)3 professional organization whose mission is: to provide a pro-active network of American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Canadian Aboriginal persons to promote and advocate for high quality research that is collaborative, supportive and builds capacity and to promote an environment for research that operates on the principles of integrity, respect, trust, ethics, cooperation and open communication in multi-disciplinary fields. The NRN brings students to the conference to experience what it is to be a researcher and hear the latest research in tribal and aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada. There are still so few Native researchers in both countries that most know each

other and can quote one another’s work. The hope is that the students will become the next generation of Native researchers and join the ranks of the best and brightest. As Mr. Deloria discussed in the final plenary session, students must strive to be the best and not allow others to tell them differently, and those who go before must be their example. Mr. Charles E. Trimble writes: “He is perhaps a curmudgeon, but he has done more than most tribal leaders to preserve and advance tribal sovereignty and selfgovernment.” He has also done more for students than most, and as Mr. Trimble concludes, has earned “praise… from the many Indian attorneys who got their start at the American Indian Law Center…” and who started out as students there. So too will future individuals with many letters after their names, who benefit from the AIGC, come to praise him. ✦ Charles E. Trimble is an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He was principal founder of the American Indian Press Association, in 1970, and served as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians 1972-78. He is President of Red Willow Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. Leslie R. Randall is a private consultant and Nez Perce tribal member.

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The American Indian Graduate



Four Ways of Looking at an Indian Art Collection by Cate Stetson


have never personally bought art, shoes or wine, as investments. I buy them to enjoy, and enjoy them I do! Unlike wine and shoes, however, art can be enjoyed and then, later, move on to a new owner and serve a second useful purpose by providing enjoyment to many others. Sometimes, the tax advantages in giving art away provides a third level of pleasure. And if, after all this, the art can be used as a revenue source for an important need… well, the satisfaction is almost endless! This is a classic example of having your cake and eating it too, one of my highest aspirations. Stetson Law Offices, P.C. and its predecessor Gover, Stetson, Williams and West, have worked for tribes and tribal entities, since 1986, and have develCate Stetson oped quite a collection of contemporary Indian art over the years. Many of the pieces are purchased directly from the artists; sometimes they find us, sometimes we find them, and the collection and friendships with artists have grown. Pieces of the collection were first featured on the cover of Natural Resources & Environment, an American Bar Association publication, in 1993, and, more recently, in the January 2012 edition of Native Peoples. We have loved combining the business of law with the pleasure of Native art. Interestingly and perhaps not by coincidence, two of the partners in the original firm, Rick West and Kevin Gover, have both gone on to be Directors of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.. Rick West has, just this month, accepted the Directorship of the Autry Museum in California.


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Making education available to tribal people has always been a high priority for us.

But the law firm’s collection remains in New Mexico, growing and thriving. As the years pass, though, and new pieces come into the collection, old pieces need to be moved in order to make room. Because we believe art is to be enjoyed, not stored, we look for new homes for any art that is being replaced. Sometimes a piece makes its way into the home of one of our employees or friends but, more commonly, the pieces are donated to a tribal client or 501(c)(3) serving tribal people. This is only cosmic justice: since the art was purchased with money that Stetson Law earned from tribal clients and is the work of talented Native American artists, it should rightfully be used for the benefit of tribal people. Stetson Law exists because of higher education and we have always been supported the value of higher education for others. Understandably, making education available to tribal people has always been a high priority for us. Stetson Law has, over the years, gifted the majority of its art – first to the American Indian Law Center and then to the American Indian Graduate Center – to make high quality higher education accessible to interested Indian people. Once we donate a work of art to the American Indian Graduate Center, the art continues to give enjoyment. Whether the pieces are used to decorate the offices and make a beautiful impression, or they are ultimately sold for income to the program, we know the art is busy serving one of its many uses. ✦

Art for Sale


IGC has several pieces of donated art for sale. These are a few of the pieces donated from the Stetson Law Offices. AIGC has several additional art pieces which can be viewed at aigcs.org. AIGC would like to take this opportunity to thank all the art donors who have generously donated to AIGC. If you are interested in purchasing any of the AIGC art pieces or, if you would like to donate art to AIGC, please contact Linda Niezgodzki at 800-628-1920. â&#x153;Ś

The American Indian Graduate



The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management


he Consortium for Graduate Study in Management is the leading champion of diversity and inclusion in American business leadership. Each year, this national coalition of 17 top business schools (including those of Yale, Dartmouth and New York University) and more than 80 Fortune 100, 500 and other corporations (including such wellknown names as Microsoft and Starbucks) welcomes 400-500 Native American, African American, Hispanic American and other minority and nonminority MBA candidates with stellar academic records and a proven commitment to diversity. Many of these students receive full-tuition, merit-based fellowships worth more than $20 million. This past June, The Consortium welcomed its newest group of students, the Class of 2014 – 391 of a record 1,038 applicants, including 234 fellowship-recipients. Since its 1966 founding, The Consortium has graduated more than 6,000 MBA students and awarded more than $250 million in full-tuition, merit-based MBA fellowships. Says CEO Peter Aranda, a 1987 Consortium alumnus of American Indian (Cherokee and Otomi), Mexican American and Jewish descent, “Diversity is not a minority problem; it is an American opportunity. While we are proud of the success we have had increasing the pipeline of diverse candidates, we want to do more than level the playing field. We want to awaken business leaders to the role Consortium graduates can play in helping companies survive, and thrive, in an increasingly multicultural marketplace.”

Founded roughly a year after the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Consortium was the brainchild of Sterling H. Schoen (1918-1999), a labor relations and human resources professor at the Graduate School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. He founded the Consortium with the purpose of hastening the entry of minorities into management positions in Corporate America. To see if his idea of a consortium of business schools was viable, Schoen convinced The Sloan Foundation to fund a feasibility conference that would bring together influential African American educators and leaders. Their conclusion? The program Schoen envisioned was not only feasible, but imperative. The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management opened its doors with an inaugural class of 21 African American men, the participation of three MBA programs and the support of 27 corporations. After 1970, in keeping with the organization’s progressive philosophy and the changing times, The Consortium began accepting women and, shortly thereafter, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. In 2003, The Consortium reached another historic juncture following that year’s Supreme Court decision in Grutter v. Bollinger. The Court, by ruling that race is a legitimate consideration in admissions decisions, acknowledged the inherent value of diversity. In response, The Consortium expanded its reach to include any U.S. citizen or permanent resident with an outstanding academic record and a proven commitment to diversity. The 17 schools, 80+ companies and more than 7,000 students and alumni of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management are committed to changing the face – and the mindset – of corporate America. “Diversity” may have become a buzzword in the larger culture but, for The Consortium, it is a calling that has remained constant for almost half a century. ✦

The Consortium has graduated more than 6,000 MBA students and awarded more than $250 million in full-tuition, merit-based MBA fellowships. 30

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RWJF Center for Native American Health Policy Focuses on Tribal Health and Education by Vanessa Baca


chance meeting between Ken Lucero and Robert Valdez was the unexpected, but welcome, impetus behind the creation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Native American Health Policy (RWJF CNAHP). This initiative, conceptualized by both men, resulted in the creation of a unique Center dedicated to bringing health initiatives, education and leadership training to Native American communities, a group, traditionally, somewhat marginalized in health policy nationwide. Lucero, Director of RWJF CNAHP, and Valdez, Executive Director of the RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM (RWJF Center), both shared a vision of increasing tribal communities’ engagement in promoting health. Additionally, “we wanted to facilitate quality health services by providing policy analysis, leadership training and simple community engagement,” said Valdez. “Part of that vision includes honoring cultural beliefs, traditions and practices that are the backbone of tribal communities.” Western healthcare has only recently directed attention to more traditional and cultural health practices that have been in use by tribal and other groups for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and the mission of the CNAHP is to maintain and incorporate these practices and beliefs into its framework. Lucero and his staff work closely with the RWJF Center, UNM, healthcare professionals throughout the state and tribal entities to provide resources, training and education focused on preparing tribal government to make informed policy decisions to improve the health and well-being of their communities. “We want to inform people about what’s going on, how it

We want to inform people about what’s going on, how it will affect them, and what they can do to affect change nationally. will affect them and what they can do to affect change nationally,” said Lucero. Incorporating tribal and holistic beliefs about health is essential when analyzing Native American policy, as well as outreach and analysis. “We want to preserve the traditions and practices sacred to the tribes.” A recent event geared toward health policy outreach and education was the RWJF CNAHP’s Roadmap to Healthy Communities conference in early April, a two-day event that focused on bringing together tribal leaders, UNM policymakers and the health professional community. These groups assessed community health needs, networked to create useful strategies and listened to keynote speaker, Mark Trahant, of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe of Idaho, discuss the effect of national health policy on tribal communities. Local tribal health policy discussions included the value of frybread, its place as a traditional food item and, although it is part of the Native American culture, how its nutritional value (lard and fat) also affect the health of tribal communities. “Events like the Roadmap have potential to positively affect health policies and outcomes, tribally and on a larger scale,” said Lucero. “It’s my hope that our work makes the vision of CNAHP a reality.” ✦ Vanessa J. Baca, Communication Specialist, RWJF Center for Health Policy, University of New Mexico

The American Indian Graduate



Passion for Public Health Submitted by Melvin Monette


ristine (DeFoe) Rhodes was on the fast track to becoming a family practice doctor when she discovered something that turned her world around. “When I was in high school, I participated in the Center for American Indian Minority Health (CAIMH) Programs at the University of Minnesota-Duluth Medical School every summer,” she explained. “These programs introduced me to the college campus and to a variety of health careers. After graduating high school, I enrolled at the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) and medical school was the plan. But, over time, I considered several health-related majors. My main goal was to positively impact the health of my community. There were so many needs, how could I possibly find the right one for me? Then, with the help of some key mentors in my life, I found public health. The hook was that I could impact the health of an entire community with this approach rather than working at it one person at a time.” She switched majors and graduated from UMD with a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health Education. Today, she heads up the national American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF) in Minneapolis and, while she’s hard at work as the non-profit foundation’s executive director, it’s been a long journey to where she stands today. Rhodes grew up on the Fond du Lac Reservation, just outside of Duluth, Minnesota. She didn’t know anyone in her family who had ever attended or graduated from college. Both of her parents had completed their G.E.D. and never pursued higher education. Kris is the oldest of four siblings and, due to family struggles with alcoholism, she matured and became the caretaker of the household at a young age. School was an escape from the family responsibilities. “I really enjoyed the social aspects of school and did

Kris Rhodes & family, top: Tyler and Jason; bottom: Alayna, Haley and Kris

well academically,” she recalled. During high school, she began to realize that college was a real option, letters from various universities were arriving regularly and because of these letters and the summer experiences at CAIMH, Rhodes dreamed of pursuing education beyond high school. Visiting college campuses out of the area was not an option. Leaving her siblings behind was not an option. The University of Minnesota Duluth provided the perfect mix of educational options, familiarity, independence and was not too far from home. As a way to earn her living expenses during college, Rhodes worked for a number of group homes for developmentally challenged people. “Looking back, these jobs taught me a lot. I learned a lot about running a home, a business, developing program goals and objectives, evaluation and budgeting while in this job.” After graduating from UMD, Rhodes was hired by the Fond du Lac Reservation Human Services Division as the community health educator. During her 10 years there, she

AICAF offers education programs, organizes community health events and works with health programs, and much of the emphasis is on prevention and early detection. 32

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developed the initial health education programming, which focused on providing positive healthy options as part of the wonderful direct patient care and social services provided to the community. She always hoped to go on to earn a Master’s Degree in Public Health and, in 1998, was accepted at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She made the big move to the Twin Cities to complete her MPH, in public health administration and policy, in 2000. During her graduate school experience she had opportunities to work on multiple public health issues of interest with several statewide and regional public health organizations. After graduation, Kris worked as a research coordinator in the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health for 10 years and was able to lead multiple successful efforts on community-based participatory research initiatives between the American Indian community and the University of Minnesota. During this time, she truly enjoyed being a mentor to more than a dozen American Indian graduate students looking for a Native connection and mentor

within the university. She proudly recaps the many talented individuals she supported along the way and their current post-MPH roles and contributions to the goal of improving American Indian health. She has published a number of manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals on American Indian health issues such as breast feeding, teen pregnancy, otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear) and smoking. Her commitment to promoting health within the American Indian community was unflagging so, when she had an opportunity to take it a step further, she jumped at the chance. Just over a year ago, AICAF was founded by a group of American Indian health professionals and community leaders who recognized the increasing needs surrounding cancer in American Indian communities and Rhodes got in on the ground floor. “I decided to take the position as the first executive director of this organization because – as someone who has committed my career to elevating the health status of American Indian people – I realized that this organization has the potential to make a difference. And we are already making a difference!” she said proudly. Continued on page 34

The AIGC Annual Report is now available on the AIGC Website! aigcs.org

The American Indian Graduate


)MPROVED (EALTH FOR &UTURE 'ENERATIONS Cancer deaths have been increasing in the American Indian population at a time when it is decreasing in every other population. In fact, cancer is now the leading cause of death for American Indians across the Northern Plains, including Minnesota. The reasons behind this are complex, she said, including many community-level barriers such as lack of access to quality health care, lack of health insurance, underfunded health systems, lack of culturallytailored health programs and high rates of poverty. “In addition to these factors, we have to recognize the individual risks,” Rhodes said. “The killer fact is that smoking cigarettes and breathing cigarette smoke is linked to 87 percent of lung cancer and 32 percent of all cancers; of course activity and diet are also important. We need to eat like our ancestors did – more fruits and vegetables and less processed food and animal products. We also need to take advantage of available screening options, which can dramatically reduce cancer mortality.” And while Rhodes’ belief in the academic and philanthropic reasons behind such a program is devout, her personal reasons are equally as compelling. “My personal story behind cancer is that of my grandma, Betty Ella,” she related. “She worked so hard all of her life, taking care of generations of the family. One day, she called and asked me to take her to the hospital for a day surgery. She told me she had breast cancer, but she’d be fine and I could pick her up that afternoon. She was not fine and, in fact, didn’t ever leave the hospital. She obviously had late stage cancer that had already spread throughout her body. I don’t know how long she knew she had cancer and I cannot imagine how sick she was, but she didn’t talk about it before that day.” Less than a year later, Rhodes herself was told she had precancerous cells that needed to be treated. “With the help of my health care provider at Fond du Lac Human Services and more than a year of treatment, I came out cancer-free,” she said. “The American Indian people who live in this area have access to better quality health care than most American Indians across the country. This is due to the incredible health system Fond du Lac Reservation has developed. It is one of the best examples in the country.” AICAF offers education programs, organizes community health events and works with health programs and much of the emphasis is on prevention and early detection. The organization’s 10-year plan includes

partnering with American Indian communities to gather relevant information and deliver quality cancer prevention and early detection programs. With additional funding sources, AICAF will be able to expand services beyond prevention and early detection to include supportive services for cancer patients and their families. The “Powwow for Hope” is a annual fundraising event in Minneapolis to honor cancer survivors, raise awareness of cancer risks and increase resources to ease the burdens of cancer for those who suffer from it. Teams of people from the community raise money by selling food, crafts or activities, all to support the work of AICAF. Rhodes said she has been particularly thankful for the support of her family, as she travels this journey toward promoting public health within her Native American community. “I couldn’t do this without the commitment of my husband of 18 years, Jason,” she said. “He is amazing and so supportive of my crazy schedule and workload, in addition to his own more-than-fulltime career. He and I have three wonderful children; I feel so blessed to be a mom to these kids every day and, in doing so, I get to be a part of enjoying and shaping their lives. They each are so talented, funny and absolutely beautiful inside and out.” “The most fulfilling aspect of the work is being able to coordinate my ideas, strategies and relationships with many wonderful people to develop programs and policies that lead to improved health for people today and for future generations,” reflected Rhodes. We need to remember that American Indian health is a social justice issue. “Health should not be reserved for any group of people,” she reasoned. “American Indian populations have experienced the worst health conditions of any population since it has been measured. It is time for equity. I will always work toward this goal.” How can you help? Continue your journey in support of American Indian health through continued education in any field that you are passionate about. ✦ Kristine (DeFoe) Rhodes is an Anishinaabe enrollee of the Bad River Band and descendent of Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. Please learn more about what the American Indian Cancer Foundation is doing at www.AICAF.org and find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Continue your journey in support of American Indian health through continued education in any field that you are passionate about. 34

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The Alumni Connection by Susan Duran Class of 2002 Jeanette Bettles (Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs) M.B. A. – Finance and Financial Management – Columbia University “I’d highly encourage other young Native students to consider an education and career in business. Tribes will need more leadership capabilities in areas such as economics and finance, in order to sustain self-sufficiency and enable growth. I’ve also found a career in business to be challenging and rewarding. I currently work in Fixed Income Derivatives Sales, at Deutche Bank, and would be open to discussing careers in finance with other Native students, if anyone would be interested.”

Class of 2003 Marie F. Shije (Zia Pueblo) B.S . – Occupational Therapy, University of New Mexico “I have recently completed the spring semester in the UNM Occupational Therapy program. For the past two semesters, fall & spring, I was involved in a leadership program (Leadership & Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities. This program assisted professionals and graduate students in topics such as leadership, conflict resolution, grant writing, clinical observations and much more. Also, I had the opportunity to volunteer with the Indian Children’s Program, which is located in the NM Center for Developmental Disabilities. I enjoyed assisting the program with the Navajo Toy Therapy Kits that help children who are developmentally delayed. I also assisted in the analysis of case reviews. Recently, I was selected as a counselor for the National Native American Youth Initiative in Washington D.C. This is a great opportunity to motivate youth to pursue higher education, specifically the health profession, as well as provide personal experience as a Native person in college. The AIGC fellowship has been a tremendous impact in funding my education. The fellowship was fully spent on my educational needs, which allowed my personal funds to be set aside for my family. Along with others, this fellowship allowed me to minimize the amount of loans borrowed. I feel very lucky to have received this

scholarship. Thank you for your assistance in helping me to fulfill my educational goals.”

Class of 2011 Nonabah B. Sam (Navajo) M. A. – American Studies – University of New Mexico “I wanted to say ‘thank you’ to AIGC, for the fellowship that I received in 2010-2011. I am grateful and humble to have my completed my Master’s Program at UNM and now have my dream job, as the curator of a tribal college museum. I could not have done it without your help and I am very appreciative for what you’re doing for American Indian and Alaska Native graduate students. Thank you, Ahe’He, from the bottom of my heart. I am forever grateful to AIGC for allowing me the opportunity to attain a Master’s Degree.” ✦

Note: To insure that we have all your current information, please take a minute to visit our web site (aigcs.org) or send an email to (susan@aigcs.org) to update your information (be sure to include your previous address so we know we have the right individual). We’re very proud of all our alumni, so… while you’re updating your information, please let us know what’s been going on with you. Also, if you would like to submit an article, for our magazine, about your educational experience(s) and/or how education has changed your life, we would welcome your story.

The American Indian Graduate is now available in electronic form. If you would prefer to receive an email copy of our publication, please let us know at

w w w.aigcs.org The American Indian Graduate



The Nixon Legacy Forum by Jonathan Movroydis


ichard Nixon recognized the sovereignty of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tribes and ended two centuries of destructive and debilitating policies. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From the time of their first contact with European settlers, American Indians have been oppressed and brutalized, deprived of their ancestral lands and denied the opportunity to control their own destiny,â&#x20AC;? President Nixon wrote to Congress on July 8, 1970. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Even the Federal programs, which are intended to meet their needs, have proven to be ineffective and demeaning.â&#x20AC;? In December 1970 Richard Nixon returned sacred Blue Lake to the Taos He then articulated a new vision that Pueblo Indians. would allow the tribes to govern themselves, while assuring them that the government would protect their property rights and natural resources and provide them â&#x20AC;&#x201C; like it would to any state, What really matters is not a city, or community â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Federal assistance for education, manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s background, his color, health care and economic opportunity. This vision was the subject of a Nixon Legacy his race, or his religion, but Forum, at the University of Tulsaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gilcrease Museum, on May 23, 2012. only his character. The Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s words represented a clear break from two centuries of Federal policies that oscillated from broken treaties, isolation and the appropriation of lands to the Indians would simply be assimilated and the Indian forced assimilation and the aggressive termination of the tribes and reservations would disappear.â&#x20AC;? U.S. governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s solemn obligation as a trustee to the For President Nixon, the policy of termination was nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tribes. wrong because it meant the United States would not Revived during the Truman administration, the honor its commitment to recognize tribal authority and policy of termination was essentially what President property rights, even after Native Americans had surrenTheodore Roosevelt exuberantly called â&#x20AC;&#x153;a mighty engine dered vast amounts of land to the Federal government. pulverizing the tribal mass.â&#x20AC;? As a consequence, its very prospect disoriented and â&#x20AC;&#x153;The idea was to break up the Indian reservations, impeded the progress of the â&#x20AC;&#x153;first Americansâ&#x20AC;? who, at allot the lands and transform the Indians from huntthe time, ranked at the bottom of every social scale of ers to farmers,â&#x20AC;? explained Reid Peyton Chambers, the measurement. forumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s moderator and former Solicitor at the Bureau â&#x20AC;&#x153;The fear of one extreme policy, forced termiof Indian Affairs. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The reservation could be opened nation, has often worked to produce the opposite up for homesteaders and, within a generation basically,


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extreme-excessive dependence on the Federal government,” RN continued. “In many cases this dependence is so great that the Indian community is almost entirely run by outsiders who are responsible and responsive to Federal officials in Washington, D.C., rather than to the communities they are supposed to be serving” Bobbie Kilberg, who served as a White House Fellow under President Nixon and later as Staff Assistant on the Domestic Council, noted that the President’s passion to right the injustice was rooted in his youth. Wallace “Chief” Newman, RN’s football coach at Whittier College, was a member of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians and very influential in young Nixon’s life. “I think I admired him more and learned more from him than any man I have ever known, aside from my father,” RN would later write in his memoirs. “He drilled into me a competitive spirit and the determination to come back after you have been knocked down or after you lose. He also gave me an acute understanding that what really matters is not a man’s background, his color, his race or his religion, but only his character.” “He [Coach Newman] was discriminated against in those days when Native Americans and other minorities were simply not selected as coaches for major football programs nor selected for major honors as players,” Kilberg said. “The President believed – as he once told me – that coach Newman would have been a consensus all-American, if it had been a different time, and that he would have been a coach at a Big Ten school rather than Whittier.” The capstone of the July 8 message was the return of Blue Lake and the surrounding sacred lands to the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, whose more than 40,000 acres were seized by the Roosevelt administration in 1906. The occasion proved as powerful as some of the statements it made, explained LaDonna Harris, Director of Americans For Indian Opportunity and an early leader in the movement for self-determination. On the same day at the White House, the President met with the tribal council of the Taos people. Their presence – and the media coverage it attracted – gave the greater Indian initiative momentum against even its fiercest opposition, including Senator Clinton Anderson of New Mexico, a proponent of rancher’s rights, who threatened to thwart the President’s efforts to forge an anti-ballistic treaty with the Soviet Union. In 1971, the Nixon administration was able to garner bi-partisan support for the Alaska Claims Settlement Act, which not only abated the installment of an oil pipeline through aboriginal land, but also returned 40 million acres and paid out $1 billion in claims.

Sam Deloria, Director, AIGC, was included in the second panel of the Forum. The second panel featured current policy makers and contemporary experts on Native American issues, evaluating the long term impact of the 37th President’s policies.

In 1974, Congress passed the Indian Finance Act, which allocated money and resources for economic development and small businesses. Ultimately, in 1975, the framework for today’s policy was established with the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The United States would never again attempt to assimilate the Native population or terminate its trustee obligation. “Most Presidents have issued Indian messages or executive orders after Nixon: both Bushes, President Reagan, President Clinton and President Obama, essentially embracing and carrying forward this policy,” said Chambers, whose Washington D.C. law firm specializes in Native American issues. But, these changes didn’t come without challenges. Native-oriented militant groups provided their share of the era’s civil unrest. White House Executive Assistant, Brad Patterson, explained how, in November 1969, the Indians of All Tribes (AIT) occupied Alcatraz Island for nearly 20 months, while the American Indian Movement (AIM) took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in October 1972, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in February 1973. In all instances, Patterson explained, the administration practiced restraint and, with the exception of two deaths and one injury at Wounded Knee, all ended peacefully. Perhaps the strongest legacy is the empowerment of Native Americans throughout government and the judicial process.

Continued on page 41

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An AIGC Accenture Scholar by Veronica Lane


reetings! My name is Veronica Lane, I am a member of the Navajo Nation and I was born and raised on the Navajo reservation in Twin Lakes, New Mexico. I graduated from Tohatchi High School, as a Top Ten student, in Tohatchi, New Mexico. I then went on to Fort Lewis College, in Durango, Colorado, where I graduated with my B.A., with Cum Laude honors, majoring in Accounting and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. Currently, I live in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado, and am employed with United Stationers as a Senior Financial Analyst. While working full time, I am also attending the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business pursuing my Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree; I am expected to graduate in August 2013. I started my MBA program in the Fall of 2011 and it was during this time that I received notification that I was awarded the Accenture Scholarship from the American Indian Graduate Center. In my award letter, I was ecstatic to learn that the scholarship was for the entirety of my program. After completing several scholarship applications, I was grateful and appreciative that Accenture was making the commitment to invest in my educational pursuits for the two years of my program. In addition, one day after returning home from work, I had a package sitting at my front door and it was a Pendleton blanket from Accenture! It felt great to not only have them select me for one of their scholarships, but to make an extra effort to congratulate me with this gift. There are no words that can convey how honored and grateful I am to have been awarded this scholarship. After finishing the first year of my program, I know that the Accenture scholarship is directly contributing to my academic success, which will enable

Veronica Lane

me to accomplish my goal of obtaining my Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) and returning to the Navajo Nation to help sustain our tribal government system for future generations to come. I hope to make a positive impact on the Native American community, at large, to give back and let others know that anything is possible, because there are others out there who believe in you and your dreams and who will support you. Without the investment that Accenture is making in the lives of Native American students like myself, pursuing academic endeavors would prove to be more financially burdensome and, in some cases, unlikely. I will be able to accomplish my dreams and continue with my success both, professionally and academically and I will forever give credit to Accenture for believing in me enough to help fund my MBA degree. I encourage everyone to take the time to apply for scholarships, because they contribute to your academic success, which, in turn, contributes to your professional success and will ultimately contribute to the overall success of the Native American people. ✦

I received notification that I was awarded the Accenture Scholarship from the American Indian Graduate Center…There are no words that can convey how honored and grateful I am to have been awarded this scholarship. The American Indian Graduate



Celebrating Education and Tribes AIGC Honors Friends and Supporters


IGC held their fourth annual Reception and Silent Auction on April 26, 2012. This year, the reception was held at AIGC’s new office. At the event, AIGC recognized and honored exemplary alumni, tribes and corporations that generously support programs making a difference in Indian Country. This year, the honorees included renowed artist Sam English; Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community; Thalden-Boyd-Emery Architects; LDD Consulting; Marlene Begay and Shenan Atcitty, both AIGC alumnae. Each of these honorees has been unfailing in their support of AIGC and its mission. The reception served as an official Open House and beautiflly showcased many silent auction items, which were donated by artists and businesses. It is always humbling to see the outpouring of generosity from people,

Above, Sam Deloria with Sam English Above right, (Shakopee, Mdewakanton Sioux Community) Mary Simon, Joan Currier & Lance Crooks Bottom right, Marlene Begay Right, Joan Currier, Shenan Atcitty and Sam Deloria


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organizations and businesses that believe in providing scholarships for higher education. Successful events like this are only possible through the generosity of sponsors. AIGC recognizes and thanks the wonderful sponsors for the event; Public Service Company of New Mexico, Amerind Risk Management Corporation and Enterprise Holdings, Inc. And finally, it is important to thank our volunteers, who set up the auction, helped park cars, greeted guests and completed every other task that is required to have a successful reception. Volunteers are a very valuable asset to every nonprofit organization and are vital to AIGC’s events. This event was no exception. ✦ Look for details on our fifth annual reception to be held in April 2013!

Left, (LDD Consulting) Karen Arnold, Martin Luke, Joan Currier, David Luft and Sam Deloria Right, Chief Boyd with Sam Deloria

The Nixon Legacy Forum

Lewis & Clark Law School offers the only summer program dedicated to training lawyers to navigate the complex legal issues facing Native Americans.

Continued from page 37

Tribal leaders were given the authority to administer Federal programs and Native Americans were appointed to high-level positions in the Department of the Interior for the first time in history. The Nixon White House also urged the Justice Department to adopt the policies outlined in the President’s message; Native Americans can now protect their property and resources along side a powerful litigating partner in the U.S. Court system. “The reason the United States wins 95 percent of the cases it enters in litigation is because it speaks with dignity, authority and the integrity of the legal process behind it,” said Wally Johnson, Assistant Attorney General for Land and Natural Resources in Nixon’s second administration. “The ship of state turned, and, essentially, their voice became the voice of the United States.” ✦ Jonathan Movroydis is the Director of Communications at the Richard Nixon Foundation. (Reprinted with permission) The Richard Nixon Foundation Printed June 2, 2012, http://nixonfoundation.org/2012/06/ the-first-native-american-president/2/

Indian Law Summer Program Summer 2013

Lewis & Clark Law School Portland, Oregon

Our program incorporates classroom-based learning with opportunities for the development of practical skills and exposure to Native American culture. Students enjoy a cultural field trip meeting Tribal Leaders and Elders. Typical Courses Offered s Federal Indian Law s Native Natural Resources Law s Contemporary Issues in Federal Indian Law s Indian Gaming and Economic Development s Themes in Sovereignty s Strategies and Innovations to Strengthen Indian Children and Families s Criminal Justice in Indian Country Please contact us at 503-768-6740 or corcoran@lclark.edu for more information. Scholarships are available. go.lclark.edu/indian_law

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Grateful for AIGC by Terry Aguilar, Governor, San Ildefonso Pueblo


f someone were to ask me what the American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) did for me, I wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know where to start. I received funding from AIGC for pursuing my Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico. The mission of AIGC is to build promote and honor self-sustaining American Indian and Alaska Native communities through education and leadership. Today, I serve as the Governor of San Ildelfonso Pueblo; clearly AIGC has proven true to its mission! AIGC allowed me to fully focus on the rigors of law school. Had it not been for my AIGC funding and the support of the staff, the financial burden and stress of not working would have been unbearable. Additionally,

AIGC has been available to support my personal development and career in the legal field. Finally, the AIGC staff continues to work hard to ensure that scholarship funds will be available for my children. Over 90% of every dollar donated goes to scholarships Terry Aguilar and student services. When American Indian and Alaska Native students attain higher education, Indian Country, as a whole, benefits. That means more ability for tribes to build and honor self-sustaining Indian communities, just as it is benefiting my community, San Ildefonso Pueblo. I am grateful to AIGC and the resources that the program offers. I hope you will join me as I make my contribution to the organization that provided me the opportunity of higher education. â&#x153;Ś

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The American Indian Graduate


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The CFC gives federal employees an opportunity to donate to eligible charities through payroll deductions. Thank you for your CFC pledge to AIGC, CFC #11514. Thank you for supporting Higher Education for American Indian and Alaska Native Students!

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Profile for American Indian Graduate Center

American Indian Graduate Magazine Fall 2012  

American Indian Graduate Magazine Fall 2012