Congratulations to Jessa Rae Growing-Thunder! From Poplar, Montana, Jessa was crowned the new “Miss Indian World” Saturday at the 29th Annual Gathering of Nations in New Mexico, David Sherman of KRTV reports. Miss Indian World is selected by acquiring points in a variety of categories and must be knowledgeable about the tribe(s) and traditions she […]
Another Native News Update with anchor Paul DeMain from the studios of IndianCountryTV.com.
Today's Stories: Widow of civil rights activist Ray…
Native Brief STANFORD, CALIFORNIA Alvina Begay, Navajo, won the 10,000 meter run in the Event 60 at the Payton Cardinal Invitational
Lebanon, Oregon (AP) April 2012
The Lebanon School Board is not letting go of the Warrior logo without a fight.
She has long dark hair that even Rapunzel would envy. Her voice is stern yet soft when she speaks to students.
The tattoos on her wrists are usually in plain sight but are now peeking out from under her sleeves. Her right wrist is inked with the words “For my people.” Her left wrist is inked “For my family.”
Krystal Two Bulls is a 26-year-old Oglala Lakota woman who received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Montana. Two Bulls is among the few Native American mentors for Native American students on campus.
A student committee recently suggested that a lack of Native mentors for Native students on campus is partly responsible for low retention and graduation rates for Native students.
Compared to the 20 percent of non-native college student graduates only about eight percent of Native students graduate. After two years the retention rate for Native students is 46 percent, compared to the 60 percent of non-native students, according to the University office of planning, budgeting and analysis.
Two Bulls knows from experience the importance role models hold in a student’s life. She said she also knows what it’s like to be on the brink of failing in school.
“I was really crazy (in college),” she said. “I didn’t have a mentor. I didn’t have anyone to guide me toward a healthier path and so I ended up partying.”
Two Bulls said she joined the Army Reserve about a year after she arrived at the University, looking to steer herself away from the party lifestyle.
“I really needed some structure,” she said. “I needed something.”
Although Two Bulls found her structure and still works on a military base near Missoula, she realized the military isn’t for everyone. Two Bulls said she saw a need for Native American mentors.
“[Students] were hungry for something more than what they had already,” she said.
Fredricka Hunter, the director of American Indian Student Services at the University of Montana, said she also saw this need.
Last year Hunter created the Living Learning Community, an academic-based orientation class designed specifically for Native American freshmen students. The pilot project offered the students in class academic assignments but also brought them together outside the class.
“The LLC is not fully developed,” Hunter said. “My hope for the LLC was to build a strong cohort of students from various backgrounds who would build a supportive relationship.”
Two Bulls was in charge of bringing students who are in LLC together outside the classroom. The goal was to help the freshmen build a supportive network through movie nights and study sessions.
Hunter said she had Two Bulls in mind to co-facilitate when she created the LLC because of her traditional Native background as well as her service in the military.
“With Krystal’s life experiences, I think she is a natural role model,” Hunter said.
Two Bulls’ leadership came across for students like Thomasine Nadine, a freshman from the Blackfeet tribe.
Nadine said she enjoyed getting together with the LLC for fun activities and to develop a sense of Native community away from her home.
“I feel more comfortable around Natives,” Nadine said.
She said her favorite memory from the LLC was when all the students got together at Hunter’s house for hot dogs, a backyard campfire and some Indian laughs.
The LLC was only offered for one semester due to the loss of momentum, but Hunter and Two Bulls continue to bring students together for dinner or movies to maintain connection.
An estimated 800 Native American students on campus have access to only one Native American adviser.
Two Bulls said when Native students find a Native mentor on campus that becomes a crucial factor in retaining those students. She added that when she looks for her personal mentors she looks for individuals who are grounded in their Native identity but are also able to push forward in mainstream society.
“Walk in those two worlds–that’s what I look for in a Native mentor,” Two Bulls said. She said these types of individuals are excellent choices for Native mentors.
Hunter agreed and said Native students understand shared challenges like the cultural transition.
Most Native students come from reservations that are rural and poverty stricken. According to state statistics, the unemployment rate for Montana reservations reach up to 66 percent and 36 percent of them are employed but still below the poverty line.
Two Bulls said there is a lot of talk of support from the University but taking action to support programs like the LLC isn’t there. She added that the University needs to help Native students find mentors because they do need mentors.
“The Native students and the Native population are ready for that,” Two Bulls said. “They’re pushing for it.”
Santee Ross (Hopi/Lakota) is from Lander, Wyo.
The term “minority status” and how it was used by Harvard University made headlines last week, after a challenger to U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren criticized the Warren and Harvard for touting her Native American heritage. The Boston Globe and Herald have been following the story. The latest Globe story, by Stephanie Ebbert, reports that […]
Alvina Begay (Navajo) posted a personal best running time and automatically qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials in the 10,000 meter run this past weekend at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. Finishing the race with a time of 32:34.76., Begay’s time was 11 seconds below the minimal standard for the Automatic “A” sectional of the United States Olympic qualifying standards. Her …
Be apart of the Jim Thorpe Native American games this summer even if you are not able to participate! If you or your organization would like to join our team of volunteers respond via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/jtgames12) or email email@example.com telling us you would like to volunteer. Provide us with your name & contact information (name, email, number). If it is …
WASHINGTON On Friday, Crow Tribe Apsaalooke Nation Chairman Cedric Black Eagle and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer were in Washington for the signing of a Crow Tribe Montana Water Rights Compact
TOPEKA KANSAS Even the millions of dollars the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation generates for its neighboring Topeka community, is not enough to earn the proper respect
DOWAGIAC MICHIGAN In a soft spoken delivery late Saturday afternoon, Pokagon Band Potawatomi Tribal Councilperson Marie Manley reflected on how she and her husband became foster parents
TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA The Cherokee Nation Foundation is now accepting applications for the first annual Cherokee College Preparatory Institute
Tourists are spending more on their visits to the Navajo Nation, according to a new study. The Navajo Nation Tourism…
American Indian and Alaska Native youth made up 86 percent of new diabetes cases, the largest percentage of any racial…
Congress has waived tribal sovereign immunity through the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal judge ruled on Friday. Judge Gregory Frizzell said IGRA allows states or tribes to file lawsuits in federal court over Class III activities on Indian lands….
Keep your hands off the casinos owned by Poarch Creek Band of Indians, members of the public in Escambia County in Alabama say. County officials are demanding taxes from the tribe under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri v….
The California Senate Governmental Organization Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow on the Class III gaming compact for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. The tribe signed the deal with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in late March. It authorizes a…
Notes from Indian Country By Tim Giago (Nanwica Kciji) © Unitysodak1@knology.net One cold winter day Tatanka Iyotanka (Sitting Bull), the…
“Some people may be surprised to learn that this blog is my last from the White House. Earlier this year,…
The following story was written and reported by Karin Eagle, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun…
“After a long struggle to include a provision into legislation that will serve to better protect Native women against violence,…
The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma has agreed to pay nearly $2.7 million to David Stewart, the former CEO of Cherokee…
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“Ojibwe historian and award-winning author Anton Treuer offers a balanced, frank and enlightening look inside Indian culture, shattering stereotypes that…
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