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HINU Represented on the Front Lines of BLM

July 14, 2020 - 1:33pm

A new age awakens one of the biggest movements in civil rights history as countries around the world unify by taking a stand. Protestors are taking to the streets over the corrupt systematic issue of police brutality — specifically for African Americans. The Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc was established in 2013 after the death and murder of Trayvon Martin which strives as stated on their website to ‘eradicate white supremacy and build local power to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and vigilantes.’ Haskell May of 2019 Alum from the Business Administration program and past Student Body President Lindsey Robinson expresses her experiences and thoughts on these current events. 

Robinson knows this injustice and has seen it before with her very eyes. She says, “I remember being a kid and asking my dad why I’d never had any confrontation like that and simply put he said because I’m white.” Robinson refers to the police brutality of Tamir Rice who was killed in 2012. This is her drive when it comes to this ongoing issue and says, “…if I don’t stand up and try to make a difference I’d be taking advantage of my opportunities.”

Robinson, like many others, participated in the Lawrence, KS march and donated supplies to the march that was ongoing in Kansas City, MO. She talks about moments at the Lawrence march. The day took place in downtown Lawrence on Massachusetts street. Robinson’s words are, “…the moment of silence taking a knee in the middle of the road. A moment to reflect on our lost brothers and sisters. A moment of pure beauty.” She then goes on to share a horrific event during the march when a vehicle drove right through the crowd of protestors. “It was a moment of pain where you think how the hell do you drive into a crowd of people and think ‘this is fine’,” says Robinson. 

Current HINU student Jasmine Newton, participated in an early march in Kansas City, MO that was held within the plaza. Newton talks about the various highlights that occurred that day when tear gas, pepper spray, and individuals were breaking glass on the far sides of the protestors, “When we were doing nothing.” Newton states, “This is a time for change. We as native people also suffer for the simple fact we aren’t white people. When another minority group is in distress, I’m ready to respond. We are stronger together.”

Robinson and Newton both see the need for immediate change, demonstrating their strength in participation in this movement. Both women indicated multiple actions that can be taken to create this change. Robinson has taken into consideration and the beginning steps to attend Law school directing herself towards the J.D. Tribal Law program at the University of Kansas. She also mentions that this is the time to think and “…really take into account the people we elect.” Newton expresses similarly to Robinson stating, “…we need legislation to help minorities…”

Editorial Note:

As this movement continues forward, The Indian Leader recognizes and acknowledges the injustice and systemic issues that are occurring and supports the Black Lives Matter movement. The Indian Leader staff, writers, and sponsors stand in solidarity with all involved, affected and those that have and are currently experiencing police brutality and White supremacy. The Indian Leader stands with our brothers and sisters that are current, past and future African American students here at HINU. We are all in this together and you have our support because Black Lives Matter.

Featured Image of a quote by the Student Government Association made public on June 28, 2020.

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Haskell Campus Shop Going Online

July 14, 2020 - 1:30pm

The Haskell Campus Shop plans on opening an online version of their store in the near future.

“My intern and I have been working on getting an online store going this summer. We’re getting very close to having it up and ready to go,” stated Lonnie Stroud. Lonnie is a Haskell employee who is currently detailed as the shop’s manager. “We’ve always had a high demand for Haskell apparel from alumni who live out-of-state, but they weren’t able to order anything due to their distance from campus and our lack of an online version of the store. With campus being closed the past few months as well as for the upcoming fall semester, we needed to get online in order to sell items.” 

As for what will be available online, “Inventory will be limited at first to just shirts, shorts, jackets, sweatpants, and hats,” Stroud continued. “A few accessories such as lanyards and license plates will also be available for purchase. Initially, only standard shipping will be available via FedEx [no overnight/2-day shipping].” As of yet, there is no official date as to when the website will be fully ready to go.

The physical store still remains in the basement of Tecumseh Hall, but hours and operations are limited. “For now, in-store visitors are only allowed in two at a time and must wear masks,” said Stroud. “They also have to set up an appointment ahead of time.” To do so, email Lonnie Stroud at Appointments to shop may be scheduled Monday-Friday from 10 am-3 pm.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adjust the way they operate. The Haskell Campus Shop is no exception to this change. Management is rising up to the challenge and making the necessary adjustments to continue providing apparel and merchandise to current Haskell staff and students as well as alumni.      

Be sure to follow the Haskell Campus Shop on Instagram @haskell_shop for further updates.

Featured Image of Haskell Campus Shop. Photo by Jevin Dirks

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Renovations for the Environmental Science Department

July 14, 2020 - 1:28pm

It might have been decades ago since the Environmental Science Department has last seen significant changes to the classroom settings, laboratories, and field storage areas. Here on the Haskell Indian Nations University (HIINU) campus, the four-year degree Environmental Science program is getting a make-over. Sequoyah Hall has encountered some renovations over the decades, whether that has been single classrooms or single laboratories. However, the field storage area on campus is located at Pontiac Hall, room 116, and this portion of the building has not seen a change in over a decade. This room will also be undergoing renovations for the Environmental Science Department.

Renovation plans began in 2012 where the administration requested the Environmental Science Department to start having these conversations. The discussions included the science faculty, administration, facilities and faculty from other campuses to collaborate on the initial written plans for the renovation which stated researched materials needed for the renovation, the appropriate supplies, and fixture specifications, and future meetings with engineers to finalize the drawing board of the renovation plans itself in detail. This written document was then formatted into a Statement of Work (SOW) to assist in the communication process of contractors and engineers. This planning process was ongoing until 2014 finally approved to be on the ground working until the renovation overall was canceled in 2015 uprooting the project. 

The renovation plans were recently brought to the surface once again in 2019 to continue with the originally proposed project. These plans include improvements to the room itself; the laboratories will have updated sinks, student workstations, frame hoods, expanding safety features like chemical showers and eyewash stations. The overall new additions will include AV equipment, screens flooring ceiling covers, storage, cabinetry, new wall paint, window treatments, gas-electric and water availability. Pontiac Hall will be implementing a dirty lab for room 116. The estimated time to accomplish these renovation plans is about 8 months where the Title III grant will be utilized as funding. 

The outcomes through these prospective changes are going to benefit the Environmental Science program students and faculty for the department. Dr. Chapin, a professor in the Environmental Science department, expressed excitement for the renovations to benefit the HINU community. Dr. Chapin says, “This renovation will especially enrich the research and lab instructional environment of the department, as it will enable more diversity of lab activities for both class-based research and independent research projects by both students and faculty.” She has also expressed that this could be an opportunity to expand our Environmental Science faculty since many past faculty members left due to retirement leaving vacant positions open. “New hires will see this as a program in which they can not only teach in an updated lab setting, but also more easily mentor student research or conduct their own research.  That is something I hope to do more of once the renovations are complete,” says Dr. Chapin.

The list continues with positive outcomes with these renovations that create improved learning environments and required equipment for the Environmental Science program. “We can do so much more for Haskell with a fully functional set of labs to work in,” Dr. Chapin has expressed.  Her thoughts on how this may improve points of interest like the “recruitment and retaining Native science students” or having the ability to host more events like workshops and training that focus on scientific and or environmental professionals and science students incorporating operating with Tribal nations/partners are part of the ongoing list of benefits to the renovations. HINU students will soon have the ability to utilize these transformations, expanding the opportunities of learning and knowledge base in the Environmental Science Department.

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Trust Issues with the Department of Interior

July 14, 2020 - 1:25pm

By Bradley Billy and Jamie Colvin

The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, located in Massachusetts, has been a part of the tribal reservation system since 2007, but their sovereignty may be threatened by the U.S. government. The tribe sits on 321 acres worth of land held in trust by the government. An announcement was made on March 27th that the Secretary of the Interior was ordering the reservation to be disestablished and taken out of trust — reactions were negative. The announcement has caused tribes to be fearful that they will be next line to have their lands taken away. 

Many people in Indian Country have voiced opinions on the matter and for the most part, are against the separation of the tribe. Royce Billy, a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, had this to comment, “My first reaction to the announcement was shocked, then came anger, and frustration. It was too coincidental that it would happen during one of the worlds’ latest pandemic.”  

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal member Casey C. Thornbrugh has his own thoughts concerning this issue for his family and people. He mentioned how his Tribal citizens have stressed him because of the rising cases of COVID-19 as well as having multiple Tribal citizens on the very “front line of COVID-19.” He continued, “in the midst of this pandemic I felt as if the United States dropped a bomb on my Tribal Nation…” 

The tribe was blindsided by the announcement and announced they would fight the decision in court. Widespread support from various tribal nations has come out in support of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe as the decision to challenge the move was sent to the Supreme Court. 

The tribe has the right to challenge the decision as they have “…essentially borrowed money to buy back land in the Town of Mashpee and in Wampanoag homelands in southern Massachusetts.” Thornbrugh explains. He says, “In 1842, the Massachusetts legislature allotted these lands leaving 5,000 acres left for joint Tribal ownership.”  The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has already experienced decades of being forced to sell their lands off because of high property taxes, creating a loss of jurisdiction for the Tribal nation, and leaving the state and private landowners to own this land that was in trust. By 2015, the Tribal Nation purchased 321 acres of land acquiring only 2% of what was originally owned in the 1800s. 

Upholding this jurisdiction and the land in trust meant positive outcomes for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe mentioned my Thornbrugh and says, “Our Tribal Nation was able to re-establish our Tribal police department…,” “…we could work with the EPA to establish water quality standards under…Treatment in a Manner Similar to a State or TAS.” 

Jamie Billy, another member of the  Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, has voiced his thoughts on the matter, “ I am sure there is an appeal process, but it will be an uphill battle considering the current government ideology, it is just another way to try and erode tribal sovereignty.” Tribal Sovereignty has been a discussion for many years and this decision by the government will be added on top of that discussion. This decision to take away tribal lands has put other tribal nations in fear that they might be next.

Tribal Nations have voiced their support for the Mashpee Wampanoag but are scared for the sovereignty of their tribe. Royce Billy had additional comments, “It’s scary to think that the tribe will lose their reservation status. I believe that the other sovereign nations will use this as an example of how to fight the battle with the current administration. The support from other Tribal nations could be a factor in their lawsuit against the Federal Government. Thorbrugh describes how the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is being transparent throughout this court battle and handling everything they can to their greatest ability. The main concern for the tribe is working on the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation bill to be handle accordingly since the decision on the removal of the land-in-trust. Thorbrugh expresses his concerns about this uprising issue and says, “…I feel my country the United States is failing. I feel we have a President and too many elected officials who are either ignorant of Native American histories and the unique relationship and trust responsibility between the United States and Tribal Nations – or that they are aware of it, but they wish to end the trust responsibility and wash their hands clean of history and the responsibilities of America to Tribal Nations.”

The status of the court battle came to a decision on June 5, 2020, that a federal judge ruled in favor of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe against the Trump Administration’s Department of the Interior. The Mashpee Enterprise explains, “The judge, Paul L. Friedman, ordered that the department maintain the reservation status of the tribe’s 321 acres of land until the department issues a new decision on remand over whether the tribe qualified as ‘under federal jurisdiction’ in 1934.” This news is a battle won for Indian Country, but as Cedric Cromwell has said to The Mashpee Enterprise, “While we are pleased with the court’s findings, our work is not done. We will continue to work with the Department of the Interior — and fight them if necessary — to ensure our land remains in trust.”

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Increased Screen Time and Possible Outcomes

July 14, 2020 - 1:03pm

Since the rise of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that reached  Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) in early March of 2020, people have been requested to limit in-person contact, limit social distance, and restrain from large group gatherings. Within the United States, there have been multiple orders varying from state to state and even countrywide to guide an individual’s everyday lives. In these cases, everyone at one point has been restricted by stay-at-home orders and non-essential businesses have been temporarily shut down. This has created increased time spent in front of electronic screens in our homes.

Screen time from computers, T.V.’s, cell phones, tablets, etc. are, “…integrated into our daily lives…” according to Verywell Family covering American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations. During the COVID-19 pandemic,  people are using these technologies in a variety of situations and staring at screens. Employees are in zoom meetings with work colleagues and people are scrolling on social media to pass time or maybe playing their favorite video game. These are a few ways people are spending time in front of screens. 

There are multiple concerns that come with sacrificing hours on electronic devices. Verywell Family says that “…technology can be a valuable component of learning. But, some kids are growing dependent on their devices.” Education came to a halt during this pandemic. Some parents, guardians, and teachers had to take on roles they were not prepared for. Many students from all grade levels, K-12 and university/college, were forced to learn remotely. This required students to utilize technology for their education during the pandemic. The May Recreation Equipment & Design, L.P. claims, “…studies show that too much screen time can have a negative impact on children. Their brains can actually change, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics.” 

Brain development is just the beginning of the list of reasons why people should step away from the screen. Eyesight can also be impacted depending on the screen itself, lighting in the room and other factors to bring strain to the eyes. According to the Bausch + Lomb, which specializes in vision and eye health, Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) can be diagnosed professionally but may exhibit the following symptoms: Eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, neck, and shoulder pain. WebMD addresses CVS saying, “Research shows that between 50% and 90% of people who work at a computer screen have at least some symptoms.”

The Better Health Channel wrote an article on additional dangers of sedentary lifestyles that can be associated with screen use writing that, Sitting too much can disrupt posture and cause mental health issues like depression and anxiety and has links to diabetes and cancer. A few ways people can try to avoid symptoms and creating health issues associated with screen time are taking breaks, adjusting the lighting in the room, sitting on a comfy seat, and setting limits on screen time.

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Intentions of Identity

July 14, 2020 - 1:01pm

Oral tradition is an ongoing legacy of strength, identity, and way of life that is passed down from generation to generation of Indigenous people. There was a time when all of our Indigenous ancestors stepped on turtle island, stepped on this earth from all walks of life. We have learned from these walks of life including from our non-human relatives. The bond that was in place with our non-human relatives was a take-and-give relationship. These relatives of ours spoke of wisdom, lessons, and much more — they are in our stories of creation, we refer to our clans in recognition of them, we honor them as our people, and they provide medicine for the people.

Language is a major component of the identity of Indigenous people. The words that are formed and spoken are more meaningful than the word itself. These words are a description, an ongoing exquisite sound that is heard. When language is spoken to those who understand, those listening can paint a picture in their mind of the beautiful colors and shapes from those words said.  The language is heard by others, but who cannot hear?

A language that is spoken to another with the intention of being heard is hard when the one listening cannot hear anything but sound. This sound is unrecognizable. The listener is confused and lost; this is how our non-human relatives feel when the traditional tongue, the language of Indigenous people is not spoken. 

It is important to understand that as we walk this earth, this turtle island that our non-human relatives are all around us, even our ancestors. The fact that we pass by them every single day and we do not even acknowledge them is probably tearing them up inside. They must be so lost and confused about what we are saying as we do not speak the traditional tongue they have come to know. Language is part of oral tradition and when it is not spoken, there is a gap. There is a disconnection where the more the gap grows, the strength, identity, and way of life weakens for Indigenous people. 

When Indigenous people pass on oral traditions, they are passed with intention. The intentions to enact what signify and represent one’s peoples. There are a variety of oral discussions — ceremonies, harvesting, and even language. These oral discussions are not limited to these examples as the list goes on and on.

I encourage all Indigenous peoples to learn their language from whatever peoples and lands they come from. It does not matter how much or how little is known in the traditional tongue, speak it every day so those who know, can listen. They will be proud and overjoyed to hear a voice they understand, and they should be proud of themselves for speaking their people’s tongue.

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The Best Time to Come

July 14, 2020 - 12:49pm

The Best Time to Come

Gathering of relatives from across the nation

Unity of dancers, singers, water runners and spectators 

We all know this is the best time to come

Pulling up in the car, I hear the drums

The heartbeat that thrives the soul

Approaching the circle

I pick a spot, the very spot for me to spend 

Lawn chairs, camping chairs, a seat for the weekend

A seat with my blanket gently placed over the back 

To warm and cushion this very seat

I see to write my name on a list, in exchange for a number

My number to hold and wear

I hear the speakers surrounding this arena shouting “1 o’clock grand entry” 

I venture to the car for the gear

Unpacking my regalia, grabbing the hair spray and comb. 

This is a process from head to toe

Keeping everything straight and inline is what I have come to know.

The Haskell Color Guard lining up 

I smell the fry bread grease

I see my dear friends 

Knowing I am going to make it on time, 

I am not running on Indian Time

As I walk to the East side, I take a deep breath in. 

Finally finding my place in line 

Knowing it’s time

Time to enter the circle

As I awaken, it was all in my head

I notice I am just lying in bed

“I thought this was real,” is what I said

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IL Writers Graduate

July 14, 2020 - 12:46pm

Joseph Singh and Jamie Colvin are leaving legacies as Indian Leader staff writers behind after completing their bachelors degrees over the summer semester.

Singh has written many stories for the Haskell Indian Nations University’s (HINU) student newspaper — roughly 40 articles and around 23,000 words! Singh’s articles have included commentaries, opinions, reviews, features, literary works, and horoscopes. His contributions to the paper have resulted in the Indian Leader’s recent adoption of page sections to ensure a balance of news and entertainment.

Colvin, who has been operating as the newspaper’s Secretary/Treasurer, has also contributed extensively to the paper. Rounding out at just over 10,500 words, Colvin has written news stories, environmental stories, commentaries, and many features which have included tributes  and student and faculty spotlights. 

As Editor, I speak for the Indian Leader when I say, “Congratulations Joe and Jamie! We wish you the best on your next adventures!”

A list of articles for each writer can be found at:

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The Case for Abolition

July 14, 2020 - 12:42pm

In the wake of mass uprisings across America due to police killings of Black Americans, the public has appealed to reformist strategies to address the violence. However, the problem is not police training. The problem is not diversity in law enforcement. The problem is not that law enforcement needs to be reformed at all. The problem is policing itself —  police violence is a reflection of a large and brutal system of racial and social caste known as Capitalism.

Policing and incarceration does nothing to address crime. Crime is manufactured by larger socio-economic structures that are ignored when we consign human beings entrenched in poverty to prison. As Angela Davis says, “Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages”. 

Stolen land and exploited black bodies were the inception of American capital. Subsequent laws written by the American settler-state are designed to benefit and maintain this industry of exploitation. Police enforce these laws and are therefore agents of capital. Their jobs are to protect and serve property, not people. Laws like the Stand Your Ground law simultaneously boosted gun sales while exonerating people like George Zimmerman who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in 2012. Laws like the Three-strikes law, which mandate offenders with two prior convictions and a violent felony charge to serve life in prison, generate wealth for the private prison industry that profits on criminalization. In a country where incarcerations rates and crime rates increase and decrease wholly independent of one another, the steady investments in policing and prisons in America has become a multi-billion dollar business. The American criminal justice system was designed by a country that profits from criminalizing socio-economic issues it is directly responsible for creating. 

In a world without prisons or police, transgressions that we understand as “criminal” are met by a community with questions of need. Panhandling, drug dealing, drug consumption, and gun violence are all issues that reflect a need that cannot be addressed when America continues to invest in transforming these issues into profit.

Prisons must be abolished, policing must be dismantled, and capitalism must die.

Author Suggested Readings

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Davis

The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale

Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California by Ruth Wilson Gilmore

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It’s Not Just $475

July 10, 2020 - 12:38pm

As a student at Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) I don’t want my concerns swept under the rug because “it’s just $475”, and “where are you going to find a better deal for your education?” This kind of thinking shouldn’t be used to invalidate student concerns.

Students at HINU have been very vocal about the change in fall semester fees which were updated by the university on June 25, but made public by an Indian Leader Facebook post. The Student Government Association (SGA) promptly advocated for students by sending a letter to the HINU administration. However, following student concerns, some are insisting that students should be grateful for the low cost of attendance.

Haskell Alumnus Stace Loca commented and shared an Indian Leader Facebook post, “Quit complaining or go somewhere else, find a better deal! Move on…” and addressed the current students who are self advocating, “These current Haskell students are such cry babies, they don’t appreciate ANYTHING!!

The narrative appears to be that “us students” are just complaining about $475, which is far from the truth. We are complaining that the school is adding to new COVID-19 related financial burdens and that our school doesn’t communicate or work with the students.

HINU reports 80% of students live on-campus during a normal year, and the HINU Net Price Calculator shows a yearly cost of attendance of $8,550 for those living on-campus. The decision to close down residence halls has forced an estimated 580 students to either live at home if that’s an option or get an apartment. The Net Price Calculator estimates an increase of $1,150 in cost of attendance to those now living at home, and an increase of $8,622 for those who’ve had to find their own housing.

That is 80% of students who have seen or will see an increase to their cost of attendance at HINU just from shutting down the dorms. This doesn’t even factor into account COVID-19 related expenses. The SGA wrote a letter to the Haskell Administration stating, “Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States, Indian Country has been hit the hardest. Combined with mass unemployment, every dollar counts, now more than ever.”

With dramatic increases in yearly costs of attendance, some estimated at as much as 101%, many students were looking forward to the small concession of getting to pay off-campus fees of $240. But in the recent university update, online fees have increased would-be fees by 198%, totaling $715.

Sudden student financial burdens can’t be alleviated by student loans either. When I called the Office of Financial Aid inquiring about student loans for myself, I was told by “No, we don’t participate in student loans at Haskell… The school fees are so low, there is no rationale for that.

It’s not just the financial aspects that have students concerned; the lack of messaging to students has students feeling uneasy. Fall semester fees were silently updated on the university website on June 25 and they did not issue a statement to students regarding these changes. Some students have recently reached out to the Indian Leader noticing that they’ve been charged $360 for summer school fees, despite the website listing off-campus tuition at $120 during that term. HINU is not being transparent or upfront updating students.

HINU pitfalls with communication and semester fees are only heightened by comparing it to the response by Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), the only other Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) operated Tribal College and University (TCU).  SIPI waived fees and is offering technology assistance for their fall trimester. This has led to questions as to how each university may have received different guidance from the BIE.

Questions from students, the Indian Leader, Lawrence Journal World, and the SGA have gone unanswered prompting SGA Executive Vice President Will Wilkinson to post, “Haskell has an unhealthy habit of being silent whenever people ask the tough questions. That needs to end now.”

All these numbers have personal consequences. As I’m entering my final year at HINU, I’m past the point of changing universities. I just signed a lease with two other HINU students because the dorms are closed and my annual cost of attendance has jumped from $8,550 to $17,172 — so it’s not just $475. I have to cover those new costs somehow, and I wasn’t prepared for the cost of my education to double.

These new fees may also impact the Indian Leader. Removal of activity fees which help fund the Indian Leader, may mean we don’t receive fall funding. The Indian Leader has played a large part in getting information to students, and since the university has not been sending students statements, we are needed now more than ever to break the silence. Decisions by the HINU administration have rippling consequences that are most felt by the students, and it’s time for students to feel they are supported by their university.

Authors Note: All calculations for the Net Price Calculator were input with the author’s personal data, and does not represent every student‘s estimated cost of attendance, but allows a side by side comparison of the difference between cost differences. In addition, the Net Price Calculator has not been updated by the university to show current academic year estimates.

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Spring 2020 Graduates

June 16, 2020 - 10:44pm

Congratulations HINU Spring Graduate Class of 2020!

2-Year Degrees Associate of Arts, Communication Studies

Gino Stephen Torres

Associate of Arts, Liberal Arts

Shaed L. Cloke

Cameron Luke Dana

William D. Edmo IV

Mia C. Gonzales

Jordan L. Goodwill

Portia Dan Goseyun

Rone-Rena Jackson

Cody J. Keefer

Ileana J. Larkin

Malik Lee

Maurice Tyrone Lewis

Chase Nicholas McDaniel

Jared Nally

Denali Stigall

Felecia Suttle

Joel Peter Toya

Cheyenne Sean White

Deja Evette White

Malayja Lenette White

Associate of Arts, Para-Professional Education

Josclyn Myree Cabarrubia

Anika Francis

Tavia Lee Hart

Anne Hrenchir

Darian Martin

Associate of Arts, Social Work

Kieyoomia N. Benally

Ariel T. Brown

Jalissa L. Cabarrubia

Sarah Ellen Christian

Tiana Martinez

Kylee Nichole Sellers

Associate of Science, Community Health

Hannah Harvey

Breanna Watahomigie

Emalee Telain Williams

Associate of Science, Natural Science

Jasmine Boyd

Micaela Chavez

Alexandra J. Holder

Zechariah Caine Johnson

Mykka Raphael Juan

Sylvester Vernon Luther

Shamiqua Nez

Marisa Dawn Nuno

David Tah

Shania S. Tsosie

Toni J. Valdivia

Associate of Science, Recreation and Fitness Management

Britney Dray

Elias Vaughn Her Many Horses

Shyla Alexandria Rae Jackson

Oke-tw’sha Roberts

Jacob White

4-Year Degrees Bachelor of Arts, Indigenous and American Indian Studies

Jennifer Ann Jimboy

Shania Ashley Lopez

Naomi Nevaquaya

Summer Ray Powell

Nahtonabah A. Smith

Cassandra Desira Thorne

Zachariah Walker

Troy Neil Watterson

Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

April A. Atchak, Management Emphasis

Thomas Lee Berryhill Jr., Management Emphasis

Shantell Ignacia Big, Management Emphasis

Sabrina Raye Branch, Management Emphasis

Jesus Michael Campanero Jr., Management Emphasis

Kyra Louise Conklin, Management Emphasis

Joshua Alan Cournoyer, Management Emphasis

Amberlee T. Desiderio, Management Emphasis

Kasi LeAra Galvan-Lucio, Management Emphasis

Joshua I. Garcia, Management Emphasis

Dakota William Hulse, Management Emphasis

Felicia Hummingbird, Management Emphasis

Zaina Iron Cloud-Robinson, Management Emphasis

Chancelor I. Jenkins, Management Emphasis

Cherish Mallory, Management Emphasis

Ryan A. Myore, Management Emphasis

Justin Rollin Narcomey, Management Emphasis

Yevania M. Osborne, Management Emphasis

Corey Lee Quigley, Management Emphasis

Robert Roehl II, Management Emphasis

Christopher Paul Rupnicki, Tribal Management Emphasis

Mary Tah, Management Emphasis

Sawn’Zee Don Thompson-Johnson, Management Emphasis

Thomasina R. Whipple, Management Emphasis

Tarez Lydell Willis, Management Emphasis

Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education

Alissa L. Bell

Brianna Fancy Red Pipe

Bachelor of Science, Environmental Science

Quintin Kane Pomosanausi Allen

Dakota Lee Botone

Josiah A. Candelaria

Ian Jonathan Gambill

Rissa Alexandra Garcia Prudencio

Annalise Guthrie

Rayanna R. Otterholt

Sierra Aspen Penn

Braden Souders

Uriah William Thompson

Zackary Towey

Reia Whiteside

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My Summer Research Experience

June 11, 2020 - 11:11am

This summer of 2019, I was honored and humbled to be accepted as one out of the 13 students participating in the Research for Undergraduate Students (REU) Sustainable Land and Water Resources Program (SLAWR). The program has three main groups that divide the students to work in different areas for the summer; the first team is in Pablo, MT working from the Salish Kootenai College, the second team is in Duluth, MN working from the University of Minnesota Duluth and the third team is in Minneapolis, MN working from the University of Min- nesota Twin Cities. I was located in Minneapolis, MN for the summer work in a geochemistry laboratory as well as a hydrology laboratory.

The specific project I was conducting research on with the assistance of my mentors Dr. Gene-Hua Crystal Ng and Dr. Cara Santelli, is called Kawe Gidda-Naanaagadawendaawin Manoo- min meaning, “First we should consider manoomin.” The word manoomin is derived from the Ojibwe language meaning Wild rice (Zizania palustris). This project has many portions to the overall big picture which is concerns of depleting manoomin populations within the Great Lakes region. Through my research essay, I formed three main objectives. The first being to integrate indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) into scientific environmental preservation and indigenous resource sovereignty. This is key for conducting research on manoomin in the Great Lakes region. The second objective is formulating a productive project plan that is built around partnerships and relationships with tribal nations and communities. The final objective is delivering results that relate to all aspects of science and traditional ecological knowledge. This entails articulating findings or reasons behind why particular methodologies need to be conducted, in order to establish a positive relationship. This comes from all sides of the partnership – university researchers and tribal participants.

One of the many partners within this project is the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians located in northern Wisconsin. In regards of the stated objectives, my field site was located on the Bear River that runs through the Lac Du Flambeau reservation. This is where I conducted fieldwork and extracted samples along this river. I traveled by canoe along this river to reach my sites and would extract whole sediment cores from the bottom of the river itself. After doing so I would extract the porewater to be taken back to the laboratory for testing. Porewater is the water that lies within the sediment itself. After conducting laboratory tests, the analysis was next.

Manoomin is ecologically important to the Great Lakes region and in other northeastern parts of the US. It creates habitat and nesting grounds and estab- lishes a food source for animal species living within these ecosystems. Manoomin is also important because it is the only annual aquatic grass that is native to the U.S. This great significance means if this plant were to vanish, how would these other species thrive? How would these water systems that manoomin resides in obtain nutrients and prevent erosion? Manoomin also provides to the Indigenous peoples that are throughout this region. It is a main staple. The food source that brings together the people for ceremonies, gatherings or feasts, and the processes for harvesting. If manoomin populations are depleting not only is the ecosystems impacted but the indigenous peoples that utilize this resource.

This research experience allowed me to grow as an undergraduate in my field of study. I learned new techniques from the various methodologies presented to me. I gained more experience of what it is like to work in the field versus in the laboratory. I have also learned so much from the tribal partners that I had the privilege of working with. They really demonstrated to me what manoomin means to them through their view and voice. I will always have a place for manoomin in my heart.

I encourage all Haskell students to engage in some type of summer intership of your interest. This is where you can network, to possibly engage in more opportunities within the future. This demonstrates experience for your resume whether you present this to a future job opportunity or for a future education opportunity. Take advantage of what you wish to experience and encounter for your goals. Take that leap towards your future.

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Summer Pickup Dates NOT Mandatory

June 4, 2020 - 7:55pm

Thursday June 4th at 4:15 — Manny King, Guidance Counselor, confirmed with Indian Leader that leaked intel from Haskell Indian Nations University employees does not reflect policies for student storage. Wednesday June 3rd Indian Leader posted an article based on reports from a Residential Assistant and quotes from Margaret Alexander, Student Housing Administrative Assistant, that incorrectly identified summer pick up dates for student belongings as mandatory for students.

King said, “We just want to let students know we are storing their stuff, and want to assure them it’s stored. If they want to come get it that’s fine, but it’s not mandatory.” King said he is still working on an official email to students on his list, but in the mean time has reached out to those he personally knows. It is unknown when all students will receive this message from HINU.

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Change of Plans, Pickup Your Belongings?

June 3, 2020 - 4:20pm

Haskell Indian Nations University financially supported sending students home — part of student safety response efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite HINU identifying student financial need and helping to get them home, HINU may now require students to travel round trip to get their belongings this summer — all on their own dime.

A document released by Manny King, Guidance Counselor, outlines time windows over the summer for students to pick up belongings that are currently being stored by the university. Indian Leader reached out to Student Housing to see if this was mandatory; Margaret Alexander, Student Life: Housing Office, said, “Yes it is, because we have to clean up the dorms, and we want all the students — their stuff is packed and they just need to come and pick it up.” When asked if there will be exceptions for those from Alaska, Alexander said, “I think there will be, nothing has actually been decided on that.”

After Indian Leader’s article went live, a few students shared private messages from Manny King who told them it’s optional to pick up their belongings (note Margaret Alexander was cc’d on the email and confirmed it was mandatory after the fact). Indian Leader is currently awaiting a response to confirm that message from King, which runs counter to previous information Indian Leader gained through Margaret Alexander and an RA that tipped Indian Leader off. See email from Manny King to student confirming optional status.

Previous HINU messaging and student expectations were that they could pickup belongings on their return trip to the University for the fall semester. March 14, Tonia Salvini Vice President of University Services had told students, “Please trust us — if you need to leave and can’t take all your belongings — trust us to box them up and secure them.” A follow up email stated, “Haskell will box and store your belongs and keep it stored until you return to campus in the fall semester” giving students reassurances that they would not need to incur additional expenses to get belongings other their return trip.

HINU has indicated this is necessary to clean for fall semester, but this may be also be a harbinger that fall semester may not be held on campus if students can’t wait to pick up belongs till then.

Red Text has been used to show updates to the article after it’s been published.

See Article “HINU Pandemic Response Summary” for additional details.

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Tipi Tragedy

May 30, 2020 - 6:27pm

Tragedy swept through the Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) community on May 9th as individuals woke up to news that a tipi erected to honor HINU spring 2020 graduates burned down earlier that morning. HINU security had contacted the Douglas County Emergency Communications Center at 4:35 am and the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical team arrived within 7 minutes to extinguish the flames, leaving only a pile of tipi poles.

Many in the HINU community suspected vandalism and showed concerns that it may have been racially motivated. The burning of Native homes has been a device of colonization and is found in many massacres of Native people like the Sand Creek massacre. Tipi burning is a reminder of this painful past. “I’m really devastated by what appears to be a hate crime on Haskell’s campus” said Renee Kuhl on the Indian Leader’s breaking Facebook post.

The remains of HINU’s tipi were handled accordingly and burned as a ceremonial practice by Ernest Wilson, Acting Supervisor: College Resident Assistant. The Haskell Foundation created a fundraiser to replace the tipi estimated at around $3,000 and surpassed this goal by $12,780 before it was shut down. Additional funds will be cleared by donors to go towards other efforts headed by the Haskell Foundation or returned if requested.

Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical released a statement on May 11 announcing that it partnered with HINU, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the fire. The investigation led to the arrest of Ryan Sekayouma Simpson on May 14th. Simpson is Native and a previous HINU student.

Simpson is awaiting trial but his cousin John Horsechief says “I understand one day soon, my cousin will have to answer for this…” and elaborates that Simpson is part of a greater tragedy in Indian Country — substance abuse, alcoholism, and homelessness which Horsechief says, “Unfortunately, this has been a burden among our people for many years.

Horsechief recalls his sober cousin who “… took pride in his Native heritage and that he loved his Native peoples”. COVID-19 pandemic responses created a barrier for Simpson, who was currently homeless and struggling with substance abuse, to get help. Horsechief said the fire was out of character for Simpson and how he was raised. Horsechief believes that “… this should raise concerns for our tribes, Native people and its leaders about the underlying problems that substance abuse and alcoholism create… I cannot imagine how difficult it is to be homeless in Lawrence with this sickness going around.”

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SGA Election Results

May 30, 2020 - 6:26pm

April 20 — Elections were held for the 2020-2021 Student Government Association (SGA) executive board through google forms. The results were announced later that day. Congratulations to the new Haskell Indian Nations University SGA executive board!

President, Ahnawake Toyekoyah

Executive Vice President, William Wilkinson

Chief of Staff, Jakob Stump

Vice President of Athletic Affair, Amber Quis Quis

Vice President of Communications, Rebecca Villalobos

Vice President of Environmental Affairs, Lyman Walker

Vice President of Finance, Autumn Wano

Vice President of Marketing, Marlon Scott

Vice President of Special Operations, Priscilla Ortiz

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SGA Election Accessibility

May 30, 2020 - 6:24pm

Governments at every level are searching for ways to make voting accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. The disbursement of Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) students during pandemic efforts necessitated an online option to elect the 2020-2021 executive board for the Student Government Association (SGA).

The election, which took place through google forms on April 20, only engaged 5.6% of the student body (based on fall enrollment numbers) of which Indian Leader estimates 29% of those voters were constituents themselves.

Other factors may have contributed to the low poll numbers. The only email sent to the students about the election date was sent on the day of the election — 7 hours before voting ended. Social media played a role in communicating to a portion of students, leaving some without access to voting information like candidates or campaigns.

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Behind the Comic

May 30, 2020 - 6:22pm

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has criticized both the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge reservations for “unlawful” checkpoints set up as pandemic response efforts to the threat of COVID-19. Noem addressed letters to the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe May 8 confronting them for establishing checkpoints on highways running through the reservations. These letters reference a memorandum from the Department of Interior from April 8 which provided guidance for tribal COVID-19 responses related to roadways.

Tribes continue to operate checkpoints. Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Chairman Harold Fraziermtold CNN, “With the lack of resources we have medically, this is our best tool we have right now to try to prevent [the spread of Covid-19]”.

May 20 — Noem announced over twitter, “Following the tribes’ refusal to remove the checkpoints, I asked our state Attorney General to order an investigation into these checkpoints.” Noem is pursuant that these checkpoints are unlawfully operated on state and US highways.

We've been working for weeks to find a solution to the tribal checkpoints issue that respects both tribal and state sovereignty while following federal law.

Unfortunately, the tribes have continued to operate checkpoints on State and US highways. (1/6)

— Governor Kristi Noem (@govkristinoem) May 20, 2020

The health of indigneous South Dakotans is balanced between a power struggle with state and tribal governments — both claiming they have the interest of public health in mind.

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HINU Follows National Trend in Native American/Alaska Native Enrollment

May 30, 2020 - 6:19pm

Fewer Native American and Alaska Native students are going to college. Data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics show national enrollment numbers for Native Americans and Alaska Natives have dropped 30.8% from 2009-10 to 2017-18 (12-month enrollment). Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) 2009-2019 fall enrollment numbers follow the national trend mirroring the 30.8% drop.

Indian Country has 34 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) which have collectively seen a 17.8% drop in 10-year total enrollment numbers. Many of these TCUs have a combination of Native and Non-Native students. HINU and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, overseen by the BIE, however require tribal verification for enrollment, and together have seen a 34.9% drop in 10-year enrollment. 

Out of the 34 TCUs, 74% have seen decreases in enrollment. The College of Menominee Nation has seen the largest decrease in fall enrollment, down 62.6% from 2009; on the other hand, Navajo Technical University has seen an increase of 113% for its fall enrollment.

Ten-year trends show three TCUs had decreases in enrollment by over 50%, and four had increases in enrollment by over 50%. HINU ends up at number 12 for the largest decrease in fall enrollment.

COVID-19 pandemic responses may further impact fall enrollment rates for TCUs. HINU has yet to make a decision on online or in-person courses for the fall 2020 semester. Currently, HINU has 539 pre-enrolled students.


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Food Sovereign Summer

May 30, 2020 - 6:18pm

Food insecurity and poor diet contribute to many health issues facing Native people today.  Growing healthy food at home can help close nutritional gaps. There are only a few things that need to be known in order to successfully yield your own crop at home. Food sovereignty is a common indigenous ideal and becoming food sovereign does not have to be hard. Growing your own food can be a very wholesome and beneficial experience for yourself and your family. 

When getting started, it is a good idea to start small. To begin, you’ll need seeds, a location, and a little time. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the variety of seeds available.  Choose a variety or two of seeds to begin with and expand over time. Make a list of the fruits and vegetables you enjoy eating and see which grow best in your climate.  Many first time gardeners find success with lettuce or beans.

Some plants need more sunlight and some need less water. It is very helpful to research your plants and also find quality soil. Soil quality will influence a plant’s nutrient intake and how it grows. It is easy to make your own compost to mix with your soil to provide organic materials that will breakdown to provide further nutrients. Gardens thrive with compost! Instead of throwing away coffee grounds, eggshells, and orange peels, you can toss them in your compost/garden. In order to help your compost break down organic materials, be sure to stir regularly and layer with soil and water as needed.

Everyone may not have access to a large outdoor space, but there are other options.  Mellissa Freiburger of the Sunrise Project in Lawrence, KS offers the following advice to novice gardeners with limited space, “Container gardening makes growing food accessible to almost anyone, so I love that aspect of it! Almost anything can work as a container as long as there is drainage… don’t get too bogged down in thinking that you need special equipment.  And the bigger the container – the better!”

HINU Student, Jamie Colvin, has plenty of experience working with plants at home. She says, “Pay attention to water runoff. Water the souls, not the plant.” She explains that this will prevent the plant from burning in the sun. And Colvin’s final gardening tip was, “Make sure your plant has plenty of bubble room so the roots can grow in its own area and not compete for space with others.”

The benefits of gardening don’t have to end each season.  Seeds can be preserved to be planted the next year. Many crops can also be stored for long periods of time to come in handy during the winter months. With patience, a successful garden will bring you one step closer to food sovereignty!

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