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Mid-year graduates honored at UTTC
20 December 2010

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College honored 16 mid-year graduates during a ceremony December 17 at the college in Bismarck.

THREE GENERATIONS: Five-month-old Rueben Grey Bear was the momentary center of attention December 17 during United Tribes Fall Honoring. Rueben’s mother, at left, Lora Lee Grey Bear (Spirit Lake), earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business and Office Technology. Rueben was proudly carried through the graduate’s receiving line by his grandmother Melissa Grey Bear. United Tribes News/Dennis J. Neumann

      The college’s Fall Honoring Program completed the semester and marked the beginning of a two week holiday break for students and staff.

      Twelve graduates earned Associate of Applied Science Degrees in seven programs of study; four earned Certificates of Completion in Medical Transcription.

      The program’s keynote speaker, Chase Iron Eyes, told graduates that his story is not unlike theirs. He described how he grew up at Standing Rock in a single parent household – a HUD home – where, even as a youngster, he knew how little money the family would have each month to survive on.

      He’s now an attorney, practicing in tribal and federal courts.

United Tribes Fall Honoring speakers Chase Iron Eyes and Evereta Thinn, Miss Indian Nations XVIII. United Tribes News photos Dennis J. Neumann

      “I know that we all come from those same challenging backgrounds,” he told the audience in the United Tribes Wellness Center. “It’s nothing special anymore. It’s just part of what we have to face, part of what we overcome.”

      What he overcame was the use of alcohol in his early teens. A commitment to attend class every day led him to graduate from Standing Rock High School, attend Sitting Bull College, and later earn an undergraduate degree at the University of North Dakota.

      “As you graduate today, one thing I would advise you to do, that I didn’t do, is have a backup plan, a plan B,” he said. “When I graduated I sort of expected to go back where I grew up…and the tribal government would be waiting for me with open arms and hire me for, whatever. It didn’t work out that way. I couldn’t get a job and I didn’t have a plan B.”

      After a decline to, what he called, “rock bottom,” his fortunes changed. Today he credits it to the subtle, almost imperceptible help of the Creator that he was guided into a positive relationship with the person who became his wife (Dr. Sara Jumping Eagle) and a law degree from the University of Denver.

Nutrition and Foodservice graduate Josiah C. Jacobs (Fort Peck Tribe) was recognized for receiving the Who’s Who of American Junior Colleges Award.

      "I was given another chance,” he said. “And I wasn’t unwilling to take other jobs. They keep you afloat and buy you time until opportunity comes along, and it will come along.”

      Evereta Thinn, Miss Indian Nations XVIII, added to the message. She told the graduates not to “hang back” or be timid when they recognize an opportunity. She urged them to seize upon challenges and always do their best as Native people.

      The drum group Tatanka Nagi provided opening and closing songs. A reception was held for friends and family in the college’s newly renovated cafeteria.

      Spring Semester 2011 at UTTC begins with student orientation January 3-4, followed by the start of classes on January 5.

United Tribes Mid-Year Graduates

Mid-year UTTC graduates from left: Ron His Horse Is Thunder Jr., Jamie Cameron, Josiah C. Jacobs, Kathleeen High Cat Brown, Bobbie Jo Wise Spirit, Sheyenne Bruguier, and Lora Lee Grey Bear.

Business & Office Technology
Lora Lee Grey Bear, Spirit Lake Tribe
Sophia Little, Oglala Tribe

Criminal Justice
Sheyenne H. Bruguier, Cheyenne River Tribe

Early Childhood Education
Bobbi Jo Wise  Spirit, Standing Rock Tribe

Nutrition and Foodservice       
Kathleen L. High Cat Brown, Standing Rock Tribe
Josiah C. Jacobs, Fort Peck Tribe

Nutrition and Wellness
Jamie A. Cameron, Standing Rock Tribe
Ronald I. His Horse Is Thunder, Standing Rock Tribe

Small Business Management
Desiree Black Lance, Rosebud Tribe
Sarah V. Ghost Dog, Burns Paiute Tribe

Tribal Management
Tracey T. Brown, Standing Rock Tribe
Nilah M. Griffin, Omaha Tribe of Nebraska

Exact Med Medical Transcription Certificate
Jill A. Connolly, Leslie, MI
Melissa A. Mosbrucker, Mandan, ND
Dina Roberts, Dickinson, ND
Cassandra Rowe, Hayden, ID


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