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Fellowship awarded by United Tribes
Student Leader is from Wind River
20 May 2013

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College has honored one of the college's promising graduates, who intends to pursue socio-economic recovery for her tribe in the future.

      Teresa G. Hughes was selected to receive the David M. Gipp Native American Leader Fellowship for 2012. The award was presented May 1 during an honoring attended by college leaders and supporters from the Bismarck community

Teresa G. Hughes
Native American Leader Fellowship recipient Teresa G. Hughes from the Northern Arapaho Tribe.

      "She's an incredible young leader. She exemplifies what we think success is for tribal college students," said Amy Mossett, UTTC Business Dept. Chair, introducing the honoree.

      Hughes is an enrolled member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe on the Wind River Nation, Fort Washakie, WY. She grew up learning the traditions of her tribe. She is the youngest of six girls in her family and was raised to be humble, compassionate and caring.

      Hughes is an honor student with a 4.0 GPA who graduated with an AAS degree in Tribal Management. Now she's been accepted into the college's Business Administration bachelors program starting in the fall.

      "This award is about more than academics," said Mossett. "It's about leadership and the legacy people will leave going through their educational journey."

      Hughes is a mother and grandmother. She serves on the school board of the college's elementary school. She is president of the Business and Office Technology Club. Mossett praised her communication and interpersonal skills, and perseverance.

      "She has all the characteristics of a leader," said Mossett. "Compassion, generosity, wisdom, fortitude. There's no doubt in my mind that Teresa Hughes will continue to impact future generations. She's already very much on her way to doing that. For dedicated, hard-working students like Teresa, who go beyond the requirements, it makes you wonder how much more they can achieve."

David M. Gipp and Teresa G. Hughes
United Tribes President David M. Gipp and Teresa G. Hughes.

      Hughes spoke in her tribal language introducing herself and her tribal name, Singing Sage, when accepting the award.

      "Thank you to everyone for helping me. Thank you for this special honor," said Hughes. "I never expected it. I came to school with a good heart, good mind and good thoughts. I've met a lot of good people here and I call my new friends my surrogate family."

      Hughes said she was glad she came to United Tribes. Upon earning that bachelor's degree, she wants to return to Wind River and help with socio-economic recovery through "economic expansion."

      "Throughout my studies here I've discovered there are many opportunities to rebuild our nation. We need to develop strategic plans that incorporate our traditional values and beliefs to ensure self-determination, because cultural values are as important as economic development," she said.

      She asserted that socio-economic recovery is possible by merging traditions and cultural values with, what she termed, an evolving economy that uses tribal enterprises for the success of the whole tribe.

      "That's what I'm going to aim for when I go home," she said. "When I graduate with my business administration degree, I will be strong enough to confront problems, take risks, and seize opportunities. I will have knowledge that will go hand-in-hand with respect, so I can work honestly and responsibly, and empower my community to value-based management."

      "I think the reason everything goes smoothly for me is because I have a strong connection with the Creator and I remember our good values that were instilled in me by my mother, father and my grandfather, who I was raised with. I promise to keep you all in my prayers," she said.

      Hughes received a star quilt and recognition plaque from United Tribes President David M. Gipp, for whom the award is named. Gipp has led the college for 36 years and is a nationally recognized leader in American Indian higher education.

      One-hundred-fifty college supporters attended the event held at Bismarck's Municipal Country Club. Guest speakers were Tex "Red Tipped Arrow" Hall, Chairman of the Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, headquartered at Four Bears, ND; and Gerard A. Baker, also from the MHA Nation, a former National Park Service superintendent noted for bringing Indian interpretation into the national parks.

      Other speakers included Bismarck Mayor John Warford, North Dakota U. S. Congressman Kevin Cramer, Miss Indian Nations Shannon Hooper and musician/producer Gene "GENO" DeClay. Pastor Gordon Williams of the All Nations Assembly of God presented the invocation. Josh Swagger provided flute music and the drum group Wise Spirit rendered ceremonial and honor songs.

      The David M. Gipp Native American Leader Fellowship is a privately funded award for students who demonstrate leadership potential in their home communities and at United Tribes. Recipients receive a $1,000 award and participate in leadership development and mentorship activities.

      For more information about the fellowship or to contribute, please contact Suzan O'Connell, Development Director, United Tribes Technical College, 3315 University Drive, Bismarck, ND, 58504, 701-255-3285 x 1533, soconnell@uttc.edu.

DENNIS J. NEUMANN<>United Tribes News photos


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