Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Native STEM Students Thinking Indian

This week I have been made proud by a tribal college student and graduate in the STEM fields that are Thinking Indian.

Marie, a second-year student at Leech Lake Tribal College in Minnesota in liberal studies with a STEM emphasis, was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as one of its 105 best and brightest interns and fellows for the NASA Student Ambassador Program. During a 10-week internship with NASA, Marie produced maps that showed where heritage sites have been found and surveyed and what areas were in need of survey. Marie wants to be a math teacher on her reservation to encourage other Natives to pursue the STEM fields. Check out Marie's profile.

Melinda is a 2008 Haskell Indian nations University graduate and a graduate student in the Department of Botany and Plant Psychology at Purdue University in Indiana. Melinda is passionate about her research, and is studying how to incorporate pre-Colombian tribal soil practices to restore degraded soils in North America.

Our American Indian students continue to show that American Indian practices and traditions are science, and can be used to protect and preserve our water, land and air resources. As Melinda says, "Traditional ecological knowledge in the U.S. can be used to grow crops, reduce carbon emissions, and more!"

Now that is "thinking Indian!"

Monday, February 15, 2010

President's Day

I thought I would take the opportunity this President's Day to reflect on what it means to be a good leader. Although this holiday was established to celebrate United States presidents, I would like to honor American Indian tribal presidents and chairpeople and tribal college presidents who serve in important leadership roles throughout Indian Country.

These people are doing the tough work of building communities and tribes while also looking seven generations into the future. They embody the American Indian attributes of leadership, including respect, responsibility, reciprocity, relationships, and reasoning.

In addition, I have compiled an additional list of important leadership attributes in fundraising. What are your thoughts?

1. Motivational
2. Role model
3. Listener
4. Models the organization’s values
5. Good personal values
6. Selfless
7. Trustworthy
8. Integrity
9. Risk-taker
10. Mobilizes people into action
11. Passionate about the mission
12. Does whatever it takes
13. Communicator
14. Admits mistakes
15. Problem-solver
16. Humble
17. Thick-skinned
18. Tireless hard worker
19. Critical thinker
20. Flexible
21. Wise
22. Visionary
23. Willing to grow
24. Helps people do things by themselves
25. Plans for succession
26. Believes in the goodness of people
27. Willing to make hard decisions
28. Understands budgets and finance
29. Understands organizational management
30. Planning skills
31. Knows the details but sees the big picture
32. Great fundraiser
33. Personable and connects with people

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Call for Contributors

In the next few months, we will be revamping this blog to reflect the voices of our students, our tribal college communities, and American Indian communities from across the country. We are seeking contributors that are Native professors, teachers, community members, and students.

In addition to contributors from the United States, we welcome points of view from Native communities from around the world.

We look forward to hearing your perspective on Native education, cultural and language preservation, and other issues affecting Native communities.

For more information, please contact Dina Horwedel at