Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks

As we celebrate everything that we have to be thankful for, I want to thank each and every one of you for your enduring support over the years. If not for our students, our tribal colleges, our teachers and tribal college presidents, and our supporters, American Indian education would not be where it is today.

Thank you one and all and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

In a good way,
Rick Williams

Monday, November 17, 2008

National Indian Heritage Month

November is National Indian Heritage Month, and city, state, and private events are being held across the nation to mark the occasion.

As we celebrate our heritage, let's also celebrate our endurance as a people. We have achieved so much, and that is largely due to education that celebrates and reinforces our culture.

According to The Institute for Higher Education Policy, educational attainment correlates with economic prosperity. A person who has earned a bachelor’s degree or higher earns almost four times as much as a person who did not graduate from high school, and more than twice as much as a person who holds a high school diploma; this is true for American Indians and the U.S. population in general.

It isn't about the money, of course. Education is about bettering oneself and one's people, bringing them along so that we all as a people can enjoy greater standards of living, greater educational attainment, lower numbers of poverty, lower incidences of disease, and more fulfilled lives as Indian people.

As Sherman Alexie said during a keynote address at the National Indian Education Association meeting in Seattle, he was often asked by people on his reservation after he left to go to school, "Do you think you are better than us?" Alexie replied, "No, we're all better than this."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Veteran's Day

Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Our Native peoples have a long history of fighting for our country. Per capita more American Indians enter the armed forces than any other group. I would like to take this time to personally thank our brave American Indian men and women for their service and sacrifice to our nation.

In A Good Way,
Rick Williams

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

With the historic victory of President-elect Barack Obama, we learned an important lesson last night. Regardless of your political affiliation, the important lesson is that we as a people can do anything we put our minds to. America is the land of opportunity.

Historically Indian people have been the most impoverished in the nation. Yet with an education, like Obama, who was raised by a single mother, one can achieve anything. It takes hard work, persistence, and faith in oneself and the future.

I believe in each and every one of our students and their ability to achieve their education goals and to build a better life for themselves and their people. I believe in the hopes and dreams of people in Indian Country and the ability of those hopes and dreams to transform Indian Country to a vibrant place where our traditions and our people will see a new dawn. I believe in the dignity and ability of each and every person in Indian Country to take control of their lives and to live the life they were destined to live.

It's time now for us to work together for the good of our country and Indian Country. Education will transform our nations and our people. Yes, you can!