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Tribal College Grads are Leaders
United Tribes honors mid-year graduates

19 December 2012

United Tribes graduates listen during Fall Honoring held December 14 at the college in Bismarck. From left, Laurie D. Stewart (Crow Agency, Billi J. Gravseth (Standing Rock), Glen T. Fox (Three Affiliated), and Byron L. Desersa (Oglala Tribe). DENNIS J. NEUMANN<>United Tribes News

BISMARCK (UTN) – “Your graduation today is a modern-day rite of passage,” said keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull at United Tribes Technical College. “Among all tribes we have certain times in our lives when we move to a next stage, and your graduation today is one of those.”

United Tribes honored 47 mid-year graduates December 14 at the college in Bismarck. Two earned Bachelor of Science Degrees, 17 earned Associate of Applied Science Degrees in eight different programs of study; and 28 earned Certificates of Completion.

Crazy Bull (Sicangu Lakota) spoke to an audience of about 200 at UTTC’s 2012 Fall Honoring, including graduates, family members, friends and college faculty and staff. The new President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund observed that tribal colleges bring traditional tribal knowledge and experience into the contemporary setting. She said without education the future is bleak.

“Each of us experiences so much joy, and so much grief, because our families are so affected by the tragic environment that poverty brings into tribal communities and the issues we face, that are not of our own making. But we have the ability to change those things and an education is one of the ways we do that.”

Having served over 30 years in Native American education, Crazy Bull is among the second generation of tribal college leaders. Prior to joining the College Fund, she was president of Northwest Indian College, on the Lummi Nation in Washington. She said she was privileged to work in a tribal college when the founders of the tribal college movement were still living. “I got to hear with my own ears the hopes and visions they had. It was all about us and how our work was going to save our people. And now, their vision is coming true every day in you.”

“I want to say that a tribal college graduate is a leader. And as a leader, you shape our future. You bring hope to our children. You bring the vision of our ancestors into reality. You have something very few people in the world have, and that’s an education rooted in who you are as a tribal person.”

Recalling what her grandmother, Edna Little Elk, told her about leaders, she said “leadership is not the people who get elected; it’s not even the college president. Leadership is what a person does in their family. How they take care of themselves, their children and their parents, and what kind of relatives they are. Tribal college graduates, that’s the kind of leader you should be first: a good relative, a good parent, a good person to bring forward what our ancestors have given us to guide us in the world today.”

Crazy Bull encouraged graduates to tap into the power of Indian social media, like Facebook, to protest prejudice and the appropriation of Native culture. “We have a tremendous, powerful voice. Tribal people who are educated are able to influence the way the world goes today.” Including, she said, in the halls of Congress, where lawmakers can be influenced by the use of media by tribal college leaders and graduates.

To the graduates she said from now on you will be influenced by your tribal college experience. “Every decision you make influences your future and the futures of tribal people. You have a great responsibility. You’re not going to lose who you are as a tribal person; you’re going to make a big difference for us. We depend on you and we love you.”

Other speakers during the honoring were United Tribes President Dr. David M. Gipp, Miss Indian Nations XX Shannon Hooper and UTTC Vice President of Academic, Career and Technical Education Dr. Phil Baird.

The Wise Spirit Singers provided Flag and Honor songs. The UTTC Color Guard presented and retired the Staff and Flags. A traditional meal was hosted for grads, family members and friends in the college’s cafeteria.

The Fall Honoring completed the semester and marked the beginning of a two week holiday break. Spring Semester 2013 at UTTC begins with student orientation January 2-5, followed by the start of classes on January 7.

Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, keynote speaker UTTC Fall Honoring. DENNIS J. NEUMANN<>United Tribes News

Click Here to listen to the Fall Honoring speech by Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, President & CEO of the American Indian College Fund. (MP3 audio file: 5 MB, 14:56)

Fall 2012 Graduates

Fall 2012 Graduates


Business Administration: Glen T. Fox (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND
Elementary Education: Billi J. Gravseth (Standing Rock) Bismarck, ND


Art/Art Marketing: Quinn A. Austin (Cheyenne River) Bismarck, ND; Automotive Technology: Lacey M. Fox (Spirit Lake) Ft. Totten, ND; Business/Office Technology: Sherry B. House (Crow Agency) Bismarck, ND; Shyla S. Spotted Elk (Northern Cheyenne) Lame Deer, MT;  Laurie D. Stewart (Crow Agency) Bismarck, ND; Computer Information Technology: Adam S. Nadeau (Turtle Mountain) Rolla, ND; Criminal Justice: Randolph J. Two Crow (Oglala Tribe) Bismarck, ND; Uriah K. Wise Spirit (Standing Rock) Bismarck, ND; Timothy C. Hattaway, Bismarck, ND; Early Childhood Education: April Y. Lindley (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND; Michele L. LaRoche (Lower Brule) Bismarck, ND; Elementary Education: Eliza N. Neigum, Bismarck, ND; Arin F. Casavant, Mandan, ND; Health Information Technology :Debra R. Moore, Ft. Worth, TX; Small Business Management: Tashina M. Dupris (Cheyenne River) Bismarck, ND;  Tribal Environmental Science: Pizi Lee (Rosebud) Bismarck, ND; Fawn M. Packineau (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND


Business/Office Technology: Shannon M. Little Shield (Cheyenne River) Bismarck, ND; Construction Technology: Byron L. Desersa (Oglala Tribe) Bismarck, ND; Winston B. Pretty On Top (Crow Agency) Bismarck, ND; David M. Janis (Oglala Tribe) Pine Ridge, SD; Merval B. Phelan (Crow Agency) Crow Agency, MT; Electrician Apprentice: Joshua L. Baker (Three Affiliated) New Town, ND; Joseph L. Everett (Three Affiliated) Garrison, ND; Lucian R. Harvey (San Carlos Apache) Bismarck, ND; Jiame No Neck (Oglala Tribe) Mandan, ND; Norlyn R. Swenson, Bismarck, ND;  Health Information Technology: Celena J. Red Owl (Oglala Tribe) Bismarck, ND; Nancy M. Pierce, Farmington, UT;; Nutrition ServSafe: Sir E. Manning, Houston, TX; Krisannda B. Wells (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND; Mariah A. Rohde, Bismarck, ND; Amber R. Cleveland (Ho Chunk Nation) Bismarck, ND; Tracy R. Slides Off (Cheyenne River) Dupree, SD; Tony M. Walking (Oglala Tribe) Bismarck, ND; Dolly A. Chasing World Wind-Drapeau (Crow Creek) Bismarck, ND; Melinda M. Tikanye (Spirit Lake) St. Michael, ND; Lyn’D L. Lawrence (Cheyenne River) Bismarck, ND; Medical Transcription: Sherry L. Kramlich, Tappen, ND; Tascha M. McConnell, Hazen, ND; Jennifer J. Fish, Denver, CO; Megan McAndrew, Linton, ND; Wendy E. Johnson, Georgetown, TX; Kay A. Zidon, West Fargo, ND; Nicole A. Kuykendall, Lemoore, CA.

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