Monday, January 21, 2008

Celebrating Our Diverse Heritage

Today marks the national observation of Martin Luther King Day. The American Indian College Fund is closed to observe the life of this great leader, but I wanted to write to commemorate not just the life of King, but the life of all great leaders, including our American Indian leaders, who have worked hard to ensure that all Americans have the right to share in the American dream.

The Civil Rights movement gave rise to a new generation of people believing that they had the right to achieve their dreams, and that they could. Those beliefs gave way to reality. Our tribal college movement was born in that time, in 1968, at Dine College in Tsaile, Arizona.

King was tireless in his work to propel his people forward, and to propel all people of color forward. I honor him today, as well as those others that were not so well-known, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of their people to create a better future for them through better education, better health care, and better opportunities for civic engagement.

Thank you, Dr. King, and thank you, all of you leaders, past and present, who continue in the spirit of our great leaders and Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Reflections on Change

In today's world an education is necessary more than ever. The economy is global, competition for jobs comes from outside our country's borders, and nothing is certain. The same is true in Indian country.

For our people to survive and flourish, we need to educate our next generation of leaders. Our people need to be educated not just in traditional subjects, but also Indian leadership, Indian traditions, our languages, and more.

But an education is not enough. Indian people know that we also need a good heart, dedication to making decisions that are the right ones for our people, and the support and encouragement of those people to lead the way.

Tribal colleges are the proving grounds of both an education and training and education in the Indian way. Students can test themselves academically, socially, and spiritually at a tribal college.

The American Indian College Fund has researched the financial needs of our students and has determined that there is $50 million in unmet need at our tribal colleges. To ensure that our people have the skills and education they need to meet the changes of the future, we have committed to raising more funding to be able to double the amount of scholarships that we award to our students.

The Fund is committed to facilitating education for our people in these changing times.

I encourage anyone thinking of an education to pursue that goal. Our leaders knew the importance of education and training, and although the forum is different today, tribal colleges are the institutions that enable students to get a first-rate education, the Indian way.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Resolving to Make A Difference

If you resolved to make a difference in the world around you, to help others to achieve their education goals and succeed, then the American Indian College Fund is an organization suited to your giving style.

The American Indian College Fund is the oldest nonprofit in the country dedicated to providing scholarship assistance to American Indian students and assisting the country's more than 30 tribal colleges.

And if you are an American Indian thinking of entering college this year, and would like to continue your education this year, then I urge you to apply for a scholarship with the American Indian College Fund.

Whether you are a donor or a student, your dedication to education--either your education or someone else's--is making a difference in Indian country.