Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Waniyetu ki lecunhan wicozani luha na iyokipiya yaunkte. -Lakota Greeting
Translation: May the beauty of this season bring you peace, health and happiness.

I wish you a joyous holiday season.
Ocankuye Wasté Yelo (In a good way),
Richard B. Williams (Oglala Lakota)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Native Colleges: America's Best Kept Secret

Check out this excellent article about tribal colleges and the disparity in funding between them and HBCUs which appeared on the Huffington post blog.

In Memory of Deborah Yarlott

On Friday evening, Dec. 19, Dr. David Yarlott’s beautiful wife, Deborah, passed on. We are heartbroken to have lost such a kind, loving, and generous person. Prayers are greatly needed by President Yarlott of Little Big Horn College, his family, and the entire Little Big Horn College community at this time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Honoring Our Elders

Tomorrow night in Denver the American Indian College Fund honors the local elders with a buffalo feed for the holidays. Many people have wondered why American Indians honor their elders.

"Tunkashila, Grandfather, Great Spirit." It is this way that we begin our prayers in Lakota. Tunkashila, also means one’s own grandfather. The reason that the words are used this way is because our grandfathers are the elders of the tribe and in many ways personify the sacredness of the goodness and wisdom of the Great Spirit. Grandfathers carry the spirit of the people. Grandmothers are even more sacred because they carry the heart and soul of the people. Grandmothers carry the sacred spirit of the Mother Earth. Grandmothers give us gentleness and caring because they have also given us life. Our elders teach us who are ancestors were. Our elders are our connection to everything in our past. It is with their knowledge that we understand how we fit into the world.

Every grandmother and grandfather are sacred in many special ways. It is because of this that we will always respect our elders.

Hau, Mitaku Oyasin.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sustainable Giving

There has been a lot of talk in the news about sustainability in energy, in business, and more as we have seen difficult times, and as we are faced with rebuilding our nation. It raises the question about sustainability in charitable giving.

When people give money for an unsustainable cause, that money will be spent, and after it is, the need will still exist. Although the cause may be a worthy one, such as providing money for children for Christmas gifts, or a meal in a homeless shelter, your gift has done nothing to eradicate that need.

The American Indian College Fund is an example of a sustainable charity. When you give to an organization like the Fund, you are helping to solve a problem: economic development in Indian country and the betterment of Indian people's lives. Once our scholarship recipients graduate, they go on to help people in their community, while serving as role models for other Indian people to pursue a higher education. As more American Indian people return to their communities with professional jobs, they raise the standard of living there--by providing better education as teachers, better health care as doctors and nurses, and by providing better job opportunities when they create entrepreneurial businesses on the reservation.

Like energy, businesses, and our financial institutions, we want our charities to be sustainable. The American Indian College Fund is a great example of a sustainable charity that is helping to change the face of Indian Country. Thank you for your support in educating our people.

In a good way,
Rick Williams

Monday, December 1, 2008

Heading into the Holiday Season

As we head into the holiday season, I would like to issue a challenge: the best gift of all is to pay it forward. If someone helped you to get an education or encouraged you while you were a student, why not take the time to do the same for someone else?

One of our programs at the Fund allows you to not only give the gift of an education to an American Indian student, but also serve as a mentor through regular contact. Your words of encouragement and advice can inspire a student to stay in school, and may make the difference between just graduating and truly excelling.

To find out more about how you can expand your family by supporting an American Indian scholar, contact Eileen Egan at eegan@collegefund.org

I can think of no better gift this season than the gift of an education, while getting the opportunity to develop a relationship with an American Indian student, learning about another culture in the process.