Monday, June 30, 2008

Things to Remember on Independence Day

American Indians are citizens of not only the United States, but our own nations, as well as citizens of the world. Our warriors have fought hard and strong for the United States in its many wars, and we are proud of that, and we are equally proud of our own nations and our Indian heritage.

All peoples are inter-dependent with other humans, animals, and the earth itself. As the Lakota say, "We are all related." We all share both pride and a stake in the future of our nations and our earth for the sake of future generations.

Have a wonderful Independence Day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rising Fuel Costs Will Affect American Indian Education

As gas prices soar to over $4 a gallon, the costs are affecting everyone. But no one is hit harder than the nation's poorest: American Indians. With 85% unemployment on many reservations and American Indians ranking as the poorest Americans in the U.S. Census Bureau survey, they are already at an economic disadvantage. But American Indians have another disadvantage: many live in remote rural locations, and traveling to school requires that they drive long distances to attend classes. As a result, an education that was once out of reach for many is even more so.

This is why supporting the American Indian College Fund is more important than ever. As prices soar, many talented and bright American Indian students will be forced to make the choice between an education and daily necessities. But with your support, these leaders of tomorrow will have the chance to continue their education and see their dreams realized.

I'd like to thank you for your support in the past and your continued support in the future.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Graduation Time

This time of year is a time of celebration. Families across Indian Country are gathering to celebrate the accomplishments of their loved ones in graduation ceremonies at tribal colleges. Learning has become a lifelong vocation for many people in Indian Country, a way to give back to the community and other generations. People like Jacob Holiday, a Navajo man from Kayenta, earned a master's degree through the Center for Dine Education, which is a partnership between Dine College and Arizona State University. He will continue his work in education, and hopes to serve as a role model for Navajo youth.

Jacob isn't alone. Students across the country are earning associates degrees, bachelors degrees, masters degrees, doctorate degrees, and certificates. These accomplishments are the result of hard work and personal and family sacrifice. So please join me in congratulating Jacob and all of our American Indian graduates this spring. Well done! We know you will do great work.