Native opportunities to serve limited in Southeast academia

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, March 20, 2005

As a student who has attended college in a tribal college setting as well as at UAS, I would like to point out some facts. I really like this title, because it addresses issues that are pertinent to any population when dealing with education. That is, will this prepare me to carry out the goals I have for myself? And more importantly what opportunities exist along the way? In regards to what I had experienced at a tribal college, there were some tribal differences but often it was a tool used to bring people together and broaden the experiences. I had a job and some opportunities when I left that tribal college. Same is true of my husband.

The experiences we have at the university, sadly, are the exact opposite and at all levels. Often times not all students are recognized and are often overlooked. This happened to me while being involved in an activity. There aren't many opportunities here in which the Native community is represented in a fair and equal manner. The only way to make change is to speak up and I have done that and hope this leads to positive changes.

One main thing that is missing is the connection to our tribal elders and respected leaders. If UAS can implement some of our cultural ways into their programs it would make a huge difference. We pointed out some very positive comments, based on facts regarding the man who applied for the job "he was respectable and honorable and had a big heart." There are only a couple Native role models here; it would only benefit to have more.

It wouldn't be hard to connect to those sources and get all these talented people towards a goal of educating and helping ensure we have these opportunities. I would prefer to see this occur at UAS because I believe we are best prepared in a multicultural setting, but that must include hiring the best that is out there and connecting to those sources. It would also include recognizing all students in all events and more unity. Until that happens, then I think we would be better served in an intertribal college.

Mary T Haldane-Kennedy

Auke Bay

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