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Checklist for Student’s Going Home

March 13, 2020 - 9:53pm

Information posted by the Indian Leader is subject to change and will be updated once official statements are made by Haskell Indian Nations University. This information  is currently being curated from on-campus meetings.

HINU is strongly suggesting students to have decided and made arrangements to either stay on campus or return home by March 18th. This four day period has been decided as a safety window for travel based on cases of COVD-19 spreading in Kansas according to Tonya Salvini’s student address. Here is a checklist provided as a summary of these talks for students planning on leaving campus.

  • Create an exit plan
  • Work with administration to execute plan
  • Secure belongings on campus
  • Sign out of dorm
  • Forward Mail
  • Financial aid address update
  • Set yourself up for Distance Learning Success

The administration is encouraging students to evaluate their own safety and create an exit plan to go home or another safe location to complete their semester online.

The HINU administration will help provide tickets and funding to help students execute their plans. Students should be in contact with Tonia Salvini,, to let HINU know their plans and to organize any assistance.

Salvini and Danielle McKinney also addressed student storage. Students do not need to travel back to campus to have their belongings stored. Faculty will have security with them and either live stream with the student or record the packing process. Students will not be written up for any contraband found while packing, but illegal items like firearms and marijuana will be turned over to authorities. Packed items will be moved to a storage location for students to retrieve in the fall. However, HINU is not responsible for people’s personal property.

HINU is only offering to cover shipping costs for students who are graduating. Students who would like their possessions should arrange to have their belongs picked up during the  four day safety window ending March 18th. Any belongings not  able to be taken at that time may also be stored till the fall semester.

Students who are currently on campus or returning for belongings should complete their room checkout process: packing belongs to either take or store, clean, check in room keys, and finish checking out with the Resident Assistants (RA’s).

Students should email their forwarding addresses to Althea Eaton at Addresses should include your name, street address, city, state and zip code.

The mailroom will be able to forward existing mail in student mailboxes as well as future letters addressed to them to the forwarding address provided. Students should know that packages from UPS and FedEx cannot be forwarded to a P.O. Box.

Students should consider where they will receive mail and making decisions accordingly. It is advised to seek out online options for documents like bank statements and taxes during this time.

Students should also register for Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) as well as providing the bursar,; financial aid; and the student bank,, with their forwarding address to receive scholarships, work study, and other payments.

Once students have their living situation settled, they should prepare themselves for being academically successful with distance learning. (A future post will be linked here).

Featured Image of Tonia Salvini addressing students by Zachary Arquette

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Final Buzzer Recap

March 1, 2020 - 11:25pm

Feb. 28, 2020—Both Haskell Indian Nations University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams heard their final buzzer for the season in their final games during the Association of Independent Institutions conference tournaments.

The HINU women’s team came into the tournament as the fourth seed playing against fifth seed Wilberforce University. The game ended with an upset loss of 60-67. Team member Nizhoni Thomas led with 16 points for HINU. Sixth seed HINU men’s team faced up against third seed Lincoln College. Despite a 23-6 run over seven minutes by the HINU men, Lincoln College was able to secure a 74-61 victory. Bryon Elledge had the high point lead for HINU with 21 points.

Students from both the men’s and women’s teams received recognition at the A.I.I. conference banquet. For the women’s team: senior Janee Bates received awards for “First Team All Conference” as well “Champions of Character”, and freshman Odessa Begay received “Honorable Mention All Conference”; men’s team: senior Nakia Hendricks received “First Team All Conference”, senior Bryon Elledge received “Honorable Mention All Conference”, and junior Elias Her Many Horses received “Champions of Characters”.

The season legacy by both teams includes a 12-17 win loss record by the women and a 16-13 record for the men.

Other notable moments over the season were Nakia Hendricks being recognized as an “A.I.I. Player of the Week”. HINU also recognized its own athletes of the week which have included Antwon Winn and Justine Butterfield.

Through the course of the season, senior athletes Bryon Elledge, Nakia Hendricks, and Tristan KeahTigh each scored their 1000th career point. Elledge reaching this milestone against Langston University on Nov. 20 and both Hendricks and Keah-Tigh on Feb. 12 against Crowlye’s Ridge College, Hendricks first with KeahTigh following later that game.

We want to congratulate our student athletes on their seasons, victories, and recognitions, Onward Haskell!

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Thinking of You

March 1, 2020 - 11:23pm

News was passed along to the Haskell Indian Nations University campus that Interim President, Dr. Daniel Wildcat, experienced a medical emergency on February 16th causing worry and heavy hearts. The news came as a shock for many of the Haskell family and community. 

Dr. Wildcat has been working at Haskell for over 30 years where he has taken on many roles, but his heart and mind resides as being a faculty member working with Native American students. The dedication Dr. Wildcat gave to the university has touched many along the way during the duration of his career at Haskell. Let us celebrate and rejoice this remarkable person as he is on the road to recovery. Please keep Dr. Wildcat and his family in your thoughts and send prayers as he strives to improve his health each day. As the new journey to recovery awaits him, we keep him close to our heart; Dr. Wildcat has always been a helping hand, encouraging person, and a positive friend.

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Students Unite to Restore Native Languages

March 1, 2020 - 11:22pm

Learning your Native language can be scary, confusing, and seem hard to do. It is a problem that many students at Haskell Indian Nations University face. There is now a club that provides a comforting and fun environment to learn and speak with others. It is community based intertribal language learning. It’s called the Indigenous Language Revitalization Club and they meet every Tuesday at 6:30 in the HINU library, near the language section. 

The group has just begun, and there have only been a few meetings, but many ideas are in the process of unfolding. At the last meeting, everyone set learning goals. If someone had questions about how to begin learning their Native language, another would try to provide a helpful answer. The group intends to help those who desire to learn their language to identify resources and opportunities to speak. It is also meant to help current speakers find one another, in order to communicate and network. 

Rissa Garcia, the student who started the club, emphasizes that self-motivation and daily use of the language is vital for achieving results.

Haskell is a diverse Indigenous university. There are numerous tribes and languages represented. Jared Nally, HINU Student, says that the group, “Aims to bridge the gap between the many languages and dialects at HINU.” Nally describes why he desires to learn his myaamiataweenki language, “Language shapes how you interact with the world.” 

Hayley Wells, HINU student, explains why she is interested in learning, “I want to learn Choctaw, partially out of a sense of responsibility. I feel honored to be Native, so I feel it should be my honor to preserve as much culture and heritage as I can.” 

The club seeks to emphasize the presence of Native languages at HINU with activities like open mic. night, storytelling, board games, and more. Indigenous Language Revitalization Club is a good interactive and comfortable environment to start learning how to speak your Native language on HINU’s campus.

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Student Success

March 1, 2020 - 11:20pm

Have free time between class, want some coffee or tea, or need to print something off for class, the Student Success Center(SSC) located by the main entrance in Sequoyah Hall has it all for you. They provide free coffee and tea, access to computers and free printing and have many free tutors that cover a wide range of subjects from tribal government, math, and environmental sciences.  

The SSC is a great place to socialize and meet new people. There is also  Retention Program Technician and Advisor, Laura Rice, on hand for students needing help with their education pathways or just wanting to talk.

Games are available at the SSC if you are just wanting to kill some time or there is a inside study room for those last minute study sessions before the big test. The SSC also gives you access to the Haskell food pantry where Haskell students may choose from a select number of donated food items and where donated school supplies are available as well. They even have calculators and charging cords that can be checked out. The Student Success Center is open to all students so don’t be shy and stop by once in a while, and remember to bring your own reusable cup for coffee and tea to reduce waste, but don’t worry if you don’t, the center has cups on hand too. 

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March 1, 2020 - 11:19pm

There is no amount of words that can be expressed for the loss of our loved ones. Our Haskell’s Alum and past employee Wekota “Koty” Crow Ghost, had been called home. Our deepest condolences for the immediate family and friends. Crow Ghost is an enrolled member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, an alumnus of Haskell Institute graduating in May of 1966 with her Commercial-clerical certificate to later attend Sitting Bull College to graduate in 1976 with her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Not long after, Crow Ghost came to Haskell Junior College to work as a Residential Aide from 1990 to 2006. Currently, we ask to keep the family, close loved ones and friends in our thoughts and send prayers in that good way. Her spirit will not be forgotten.

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Haskell Student Spotlight

March 1, 2020 - 11:17pm

Lawrence local Zackary Towey, is a member of the Menominee Tribe of Wisconsin, Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, and Athabaskan from the south central Alaska. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science at Haskell Indian Nations University and plans of graduating this May.

Towey has participated in the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) program and has presented his research on the Menominee Forest tree populations under the program at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He is currently part of the Haskell-KU Exchange program taking classes at HINU and KU as well as working at the Student Success Center on Haskell campus as a mathematics and environmental science tutor. 

Towey plans to pursue graduate school after Haskell and hopes to bring it home with a PhD. He hopes to come back in the future and be able to pass along his knowledge as a professor.

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Away From Home

March 1, 2020 - 11:16pm

Feb. 11, 2020—Twenty-four museum representatives visited Haskell Indian Nations University’s Campus as a part of their training session. There were Museum Directors, Educators and Curators that met with five current Haskell students and one student from the University of Kansas. These reps took a tour of the campus and visited the Cultural Center and Navarre hall. They were here to learn more about the boarding school era and what the six students’ knowledge about this important part of their history was. Dr. Anderson helped by showing these representatives around the campus and giving them a brief history powerpoint about Haskell’s History.

The students were asked a wide range of questions about how to reach out to different tribal communities for help with the exhibit. Haskell was a part of the boarding school era and very much made an impact on the future generation. Now it is a Federal Institution which now gives Native students a start to further their college careers.

Dr. Anderson stated that the students did an exceptional job on answering the questions in such detail. Will this exhibit show how bad that era was? Yes, it will also tell the true stories of our ancestors and show how it has made Native people stronger than ever.

The exhibit was made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities on the road which was adapted from a permanent exhibition, Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories, organized by The Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. This exhibit has existed since 2000, but was first called Remembering Our Indian School Days: The Boarding School Experience. The exhibit was maybe possible by a group of Native scholars and individuals who either attended boarding schools or got information from their family members who were in the boarding school system. The Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) which is located in Kansas City, Missouri helps develop traveling exhibits. The M-AAA has helped the Heard Museum, in Phoenix, Arizona, develop it into a smaller traveling exhibit which also includes even more stories from all regions of the United States.

Six of the hosting venues are museums that are on college campuses’. Which will help to spread the stories to fellow college students. But each museum has a different way of reaching out to different Native tribes and students to get as much information and understanding as possible. Stephanie Seber, an Educator from Mid-America Arts Alliance stated, “Perhaps the briefest description of the goal of the Away from Home traveling exhibition is to share the very complicated history of off-reservation Indian boarding schools with broad audiences all across the country, by focusing on first-person accounts by survivors and alumni of the boarding schools.”

Click here for more information and exhibit locations and dates

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The Pervasive Tragedy

March 1, 2020 - 11:12pm

Montana, January 20 – Around 10:30 a.m., less than a mile from an interstate rest area, the body of 16 year-old Selena Faye Not Afraid was found. According to USA Today, she had been missing since New Year’s Day. The Billings Gazette previously reported that the preliminary autopsy revealed that Not Afraid had died from hypothermia. The state medical examiner also reported that she had no signs of violence or a physical struggle. Not Afraid’s body was also found in an area that had been searched days before then by Big Horn County police and even FBI. 

Not Afraid was looked at as a positive, young girl who loved her family, sports, and animals. It is a tragedy she had to leave so soon. Students at Haskell Indian Nations University express how they feel about the recent tragedy in Montana and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) movement. 

Josh Garcia, who holds the title of Haskell Brave, suspects some foul play “It is especially sad right now because they found her around the area where she was last seen. Whether the investigators had just missed the spot, or if someone had planted her there afterward, it is still heartbreaking for the family.”  Garcia also voiced his concerns for MMIW, “The issue, in general, is a common problem, not only in today’s world but in the past, as well. Because we are natives and minorities, nobody wants to listen to us. And it has been happening for years, but I’m glad it gets coverage now because we haven’t always had a voice.” 

Justin Rhoades, cross-country runner, voiced his thoughts, “It is very sad. I feel like it is a continuing form of genocide and it is taking away our culture. I send my thoughts and prayers to her [Not Afraid] family, friends, and every single person who knew her.”

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Haskell FY2021 Funding

March 1, 2020 - 11:09pm

Early each year, usually in March or April, the president proposes a budget to Congress that details funding levels for the next fiscal year.

On February 10, President Donald J. Trump sent his new $4.8 billion budget to Congress, which outlines several significant cuts to education spending. (Read more here.) The budgets of Haskell Indian Nations University, Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), and the nation’s many tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) potentially face a significant reduction in funding unless changes are made by Congress.

In its 2021 budget justification, the Bureau of Indian Education noted that both Haskell and SIPI made numerous achievements in student retention and success, yet they may face a combined $4 million in cuts while other TCUs face an overall $4.5 million reduction.

In response to this news, the Indian Leader reached out to Representative Sharice Davids’ office for comment.

“While President Trump attempts to once again slash funding for tribal education programs, I stand with tribal students and leaders in rejecting this harmful budget proposal. I’m proud to have studied at Haskell, and I recognize the critical role that tribal colleges, universities and technical schools play in improving education access and outcomes for native students. I will continue to fight against these budget cuts and ensure we properly fund and support TCUs like Haskell.”

Although there’s little doubt that the president’s 2021 budget will face major revisions over the next year it remains to be seen whether or not the political will to properly fund TCUs exists in Congress.

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Coming Together

March 1, 2020 - 11:08pm

As the new semester settles in, a tradition of celebrating the students, faculty, staff, alumni and native peoples throughout Indian country come together for the 2020 Haskell Welcome Back Pow-Wow. 

On February 8th , Haskell Indian Nations University’s campus greeted people near and far for the celebration. Artistic vendors, food vendors and informational booths were set up alongside the arena for the evening. Our Master of Ceremonies, Manny King, was the spokesperson for the evening for

gourd dancing and the many styles of dancing and singing taking place at the celebration. The host drum, Meskwaki Nation, was the center of the Introduction to the Grand Entry lead-in by Head Man, Troy Watterson, and Head Lady Jandra Levi, both

currently attending Haskell. They were followed by the Haskell Veteran’s Association representing the color guard.

This evening of togetherness and good medicine gathered approximately 750 people according to Manny King. If this was an evening you missed out on, come join us at Haskell for the Spring 2020 Haskell Commencement Pow-Wow on May 8th and 9th. We hope to see you there!

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Uprooted: Decaying Trees Plan to be Repurposed

February 12, 2020 - 11:36pm

As you were on your way to class in the first week of February, you may have noticed numerous aerial lift trucks and tree chippers hard at work. The commotion was hard to miss. The Kansas Tree Care (KTC) company was commissioned to remove and trim various trees on Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) campus.  It begs the question as to the reasoning behind such a decision; at first glance, it may not seem like they even needed to be removed. For various reasons, there were 7 trees in total that were taken down. The professional arborists at KTC have provided substantial insight into the root of the problem.

Kenny Flanders, a Haskell alumnus, was one of the workers from KTC. He was able to clarify why trimming and cutting down certain campus trees was necessary. The biggest issue was the impact of the emerald ash borer on white ash trees. Originating in Asia, this beetle found its way to Michigan in 2002 through shipments and eventually made its way to 33 states and several territories in Canada — killing millions of white ash on the way. Unfortunately, there are no viable means to bring back a tree already infected with this beetle. Flanders spoke about the condition of the trees behind Pocahontas Hall saying, “…the top branches were visibly decaying”. From a visible inspection of the pile of wood, there is evidence of extensive rotting. The emerald ash borer has no natural predators on Turtle Island. It became obvious that these white ash trees were going to meet their demise sooner or later. 

Besides being cut down, many trees were also trimmed. Flanders also spoke about the importance of tree trimming in late winter. “This is usually to slow or stop the spreading of any diseases the trees may have been infected with and even to help the tree maximize their resources”. Essentially, the water and nutrients that would have gone to the decaying branches can now be used much more efficiently throughout the whole tree. KTC plans to come back in a month to trim more. 

The other trees that were taken down were considered hazards to either pedestrians or buildings. For instance, the tree in front of Sequoyah Hall was severely damaged from a fungus. Professor Tyler Kimbrell, who was a crucial decision-maker for this project, called the tree a “hotel for squirrels”, speaking about the extent of the damage. Since this is an area where students and faculty frequently walk, there was no question on the fate of this tree. A few healthy trees by Coffin Complex were also taken down but for a different reasons; their proximity imposed a risk to the integrity of the building because of how close they were allowed to grow to it. 

Now that these trees are taken down, they are considered resources for the HINU campus to utilize. In fact, Kimbrell expressed how this was part of the plan: for the wood to be repurposed to enrich the culture here on campus. 

One of the obvious ways to use the wood is for fires. The fire pit in front of the Auditorium can directly benefit. Some other ways the campus can use the firewood is for sweat lodges and even Native American Church services. It was made clear that with collaborative planning and predetermined intention, the wood can have boundless uses. 

For instance, some of the thicker logs are being dried out so they can be turned into drums. Drums Kimbrell hopes can be in use at HINU for years to come. He also anticipates other projects that could require some logs to be turned into lumber. One proposed project is raised garden beds for medicinal and vegetable plants, a project currently in the planning phase.

All that remains is the question on the replacement of the fallen trees or if they should be replaced at all. Kimbrell expressed the desire for there to be a geographic representation of the many tribal students that attend HINU. This would entail reaching out to tribal communities to potentially have trees from various geographic areas. Yet, there are also many native Kansas trees that can be propagated. These trees would have the best chance of thriving in the clayey soil type of eastern Kansas. After all, much of the reason trees start to decay is because the trees were stressed in some way. Whatever the decision, it is of utter importance we be mindful of the implications. 

Overall, it is sad to see our elders leaving, yet their legacy will not just be embers in the wind. It is our responsibility to make sure that is not the case. The re-purposing of the ones who have looked down upon us will, without a doubt, enrich our HINU experience. The framework for the re-purposing of decaying trees can be implemented in the future when others eventually meet their demise. Yet it is even more important to care for the ones that are still standing because many times the damage can be mitigated or even avoided altogether. The next time you come across a campus tree (or any, for that matter), remember to embody graciousness in their predetermined presence. 

I solemnly acknowledge Tyler Kimbrell’s leadership and planning in ensuring these trees were taken care of in a respectful way.

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HINU SP20 Convocation

February 12, 2020 - 11:32pm

Be engaged — Convocation speaker and Haskell Indian Nations University Alumni, Mr. Leroy “Buster” Silva, brought students and faculty to their feet delivering a message to engage with your friends and neighbors here at Haskell. Silva started his Haskell journey through the encouragement of his family and community to go and play basketball. That journey was made possible through the connections he made along the way. Silva arrived at the airport in Kansas City not knowing how he was going to get to Haskell, but a stranger noticed him and saw him already as part of the Haskell community and offered to give him a ride. That was a start to a shift in his attitude that Haskell was more than an outlet for him to pursue sports, but it was a connection that led him to be the person he is today and impactful in the work he does. His message is encouraging to students, that through the activities he had students and staff engage in throughout his talk, they were building a community, fostering connections and that those will help you succeed. This is the magic of Haskell: the Haskell community.

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Haskell Visited by Chaney

February 12, 2020 - 11:30pm

A Night with Chris Chaney — Haskell’s event welcoming Chris Chaney, Senior Counsel for Law Enforcement and Information Sharing, part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Tribal Justice brought students and community in to discuss national crime information, including the Tribal Access Program (TAP). The event promised knowledge, door prizes and pizza.

Chaney, an enrolled member of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation, said I consider it an honor to be here, and I want to thank Haskell Indian Nations University for asking me to come out. I want to encourage students to pursue law. I also want them to understand that law affects everyday lives and a career in law can help both communities and people.

Junior Laravie, a Haskell student, was part of the group honoring Chaney with a song. Laravie said “I respect where he’s at and what he’s trying to do and the task force he’s trying to establish. That’s good. We need people like that in there that are validating our voice and giving strength to our people.” Laravie also said he thinks that “ultimately the solutions are going to have to come from us… where we come from and then here at Haskell.”

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New Beginnings

February 12, 2020 - 11:28pm

Orientation for Haskell Indian Nations University’s new, transfer, and returning students was a successful turn out. Workshops ranging from advice panels, class scheduling and a lot more were taking place over the five days before the official start of classes. Students were settling in, taking care of logistics and finalizing personal affairs, but there were also opportunities for engagement with other students. Familiarizing themselves with their peers allows new students to feel comfortable. Group activities were created for this specific reason. Game night, dodge ball, icebreakers, and a trip to Main Event were just some of the many ways students had the chance to really understand that they have now entered the Haskell family. Thanks to our Haskell’s faculty, staff and student ambassadors, Haskell welcomed 105 students that started their journey here for their spring 2020 semester. To our new, transfer, and returning students, have a wonderful and successful semester filled with excitement, accomplishments and growth; onward Haskell and make sure to go to class!

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“Main” Problems

February 12, 2020 - 11:26pm

Haskell Indian Nations University’s plumbing requires the water main for the entire campus to be turned off when working on a single building’s plumbing. This weekend, attempts to fix plumbing in Navarre Hall required a projected two hour window for repairs. The reality was that campus water was shut off until 12 pm., 3 hours past the 7 am – 9 am window.

Curtis Hall, the student cafeteria, could only provide a partial menu that morning, without water they couldn’t make gravy or wash dishes. This impacted their cooks and bakers. Students were given disposable plates, cups, and cutlery to cut down on backed up dishes as well as an assortment of bottled beverages since the beverage dispensers weren’t working.

What worried students the most was their inability to shower, and after the first few visits, not having access to a clean toilet. Students were actively checking water taps to see if the water had been restored. It was a literal relief for some when they were.

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AIHEC Uproar

February 12, 2020 - 11:24pm

Students in the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Club were upset with Haskell’s Administration. This club’s focus is “to prepare Haskell students to participate and or compete in American Indian Higher Education Consortium’s Annual Student Conference”. The club’s order of operations includes eligibility and requirements for attending AIHEC. Years prior, AIHEC Club sponsors selected active club members to take to AIHEC conferences; the club perceived that this year Haskell’s administration was removing the club’s ability to self elect participants and was making student selections outside of the club regardless of active club participation.

AIHEC Club members were disappointed. Many members who have been active participants and involved in previous semesters and leadership of the club were concerned they would be excluded from the list of approved students.

The AIHEC Club reached out to Jim Rains, PhD., expressing their concerns in a letter. The main points in the letter were that the club disagreed with excluding students based on academic probation that didn’t factor in their cumulative grade point average, that active AIHEC members were not prioritized, and that  AIHEC Club’s coaches were limited in the decision making. The AIHEC Club also felt that the unspoken attitude spurring these changes stemmed from an expectation for Haskell to bring back trophies.

A preliminary list of approved student participants was sent out to prospective conference attendants that echoed the concerns of the club; it excluded many active members and included students who were not part of the campus organization.

Concerns from students necessitated further meetings with administration. The results of the talks created explicit outlines for student selection. Students would be required to have a 2.0 cumulative GPA as well as good social standing; considerations would be made for active AIHEC Club members and students at sophomore status or above.

When pressed with questions, the administration defaulted and answered that all misunderstandings were taken care of at the meeting which allowed for previously excluded AIHEC Club members to be considered for the final student selection.

Daniel Wildcat, PhD., acting President, said “…we are attempting to make sure we have the broadest student and university participation possible in as many competitions as possible. I have full confidence that the process and determination of student participation will be fair. We should expect nothing less. We do appreciate the AIHEC student club participation and are thankful for their enthusiasm”.

What was not answered were questions regarding the legitimacy of the Student Government Association approving the sanctioning packet that included AIHEC’s policies alluding to their authority to organize and oversee Haskell student participation at the AIHEC Student Conferences. This raises the question of whether the student government has the authority to delegate to a student organization the authority to oversee student interests when funding is provided by the administration who is wanting the most bang for its buck.

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Red Racism

February 12, 2020 - 11:22pm

Red racism is more than just a football game — it’s systemic and the attitudes of professional sports teams and fans are an indicator of disproportionate racial issues Native Americans face outside of the stadium.

According to the National Congress of American Indians’ website, the NCAI has been fighting against the use of “Indian” mascots since it launched its campaign efforts in 1968. Fifty-two years later, tensions are still high between Native American communities and Kansas City’s football franchise who just won the Super Bowl — fans were dressed in insulting costumes, including redface, and participating in demeaning behavior. Celebrating a win they’ve been waiting 50 years for, while we’re still waiting for ours…

The NCAI has seen the bigger picture surrounding mascots, something few fans are willing to see now. The publication Touchdown Wire credits fans saying: “…[they] have no issue with [the] controversial ‘Arrowhead chop’.” These fans fail to grasp that this single action is just part of a larger problem with Native Americans being negatively stereotyped, being dehumanized, and having culturally significant items and customs appropriated. This affects Native American communities in very measurable ways.

Erik Stegman and Victoria Phillips reported for the Center for American Progress that stereotypes created by these mascots create hostile environments for Native American children and these mascots negatively affect their self-esteem and mental health. Their article “Missing the Point” credits suicide as “…the second leading cause of death for [Native American] youth ages 15 to 24 — a rate that is 2.5 times higher than the national average.” This is the highest rate among all ethnic groups according to the NCAI.

These mascots are also affecting non-native students. Stegman and Phillips say that mascots create cultural bias from these derogatory and stereotyped images representing Native Americans; this affects views of Native Americans both past and present and affects students’ education surrounding Native People. This warping of historical contexts grows up from a playground prejudice to prejudice being fought in the courts, in the workplace, in the stadiums, and in the streets. Natives are the last race to still receive this type of overt racism in sports and it shows in racial statistics.

While racial disparities show up across the board, the most significant statistics are those relating to public safety. Public safety problems are largely caused by non-natives, a direct result of prejudice coming out of the stereotypes and dehumanization of Native people.

  • Native Americans have a higher rate of death among police shootings than any other race according to CNN.
  • Counties, consisting of a majority of Native land and subject to federal jurisdiction for homicide, are reported by the Department of Justice to have rates for homicides of Native American women up to 10 times higher than the national average.
  • The DOJ’s 2008 report says Native American women are “significantly more likely to experience rape in their lifetime” at rates higher than both White and African American women.
  • According to a 2016 report from Urban Indian Health Institute, only 0.02% of reported cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls were logged into the DOJ system.

All acts of red racism are significant.

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2020 Career Fair

February 12, 2020 - 11:18pm

Over 30 businesses and organizations made an appearance at the 2020 Haskell Career Fair. The event included raffles, a resume contest, and a best-dressed contest. The booth setups contained a wide variety of occupations and organizations that gained student interest.

One booth had a message that both graduates and undergraduates could appreciate. Kathryn Holler, Ph.D.; Director of Community Engagement and Diversity Outreach for Harvard University, wanted to tell students, “You shouldn’t let your financial situation dictate your dreams.” The lesson is that there is funding to provide education to Native students.

Havard’s endowment income goes directly to student financial aid which can provide a full-ride scholarship, including housing, for Native students accepted to Harvard for their undergraduate in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Harvard offers extensive other financial aid options for Native Students, this also includes a graduate program that pays Native students in Science and Engineering. That’s ”pays students”, not just having tuition paid for! Harvard has also come out with a law school scholarship and many of the other discipline schools offer their own forms of financial assistance.

The career fair offered many options for students to start their next steps or begin dreaming of the future — a future that doesn’t need to be limited to what they can pay for today because there are options out there for them!

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“Fightin’ Indians”

February 12, 2020 - 11:13pm

ESPAÑOLA, NM, December 15 — Tensions were high last semester at the Northern New Mexico College and Haskell Indian Nations University men’s basketball game. Throughout the course of the game, players from both sides racked up over five technical fouls. Ryan Cordova, Northern New Mexico’s athletic director, said that by the second half, a loose ball was enough to set the players into a full-fledged fight according to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

Ted Breidenthal, commissioner for the Association of Independent Institutions, qualified this event as the worst he’d seen in his 13 years working for this conference. He did, however, commend some of Haskell’s athletes and coaches for their behavior in trying to stop the fight. Haskell players 22, 32, and 40; Aspen LaPointe, Albert Dean, and Robert Beaulieu were recognized for being on the court during the fight and not participating.

The game ended with 8 minutes and 15 seconds left. The clock stopped as players left the bench to join their teammates. The scuffle necessitated police escorts for Haskell’s safety to leave campus however, no police report was filed says the Santa Fe New Mexican. A video of the fallout was reviewed by the A.I.I. which set strict penalties for the teams. 

I was disappointed with how the Northern New Mexico team, both coaches and students, handled the situation said Breidenthal. A total of 11 players from the Northern New Mexico Eagles were suspended. Three of the players were suspended for the remainder of the season, three more suspended for five games, and five were suspended for leaving the bench during the fight which required a one-game suspension.

While reviewing the tape, Breidenthal noted that one North New Mexico player tried to throw a punch at Matthew Downing Jr., Haskell’s head coach and another of their players knocked Macaulay Brown, the assistant coach, to the ground. Both coaches were trying to stop the fight.

Haskell’s own “Fightin’ Indians” got their share of penalties too, thirteen in total. Number 11, Gino Torres was suspended for the remainder of the season; numbers 2 and 3, Robert Wesley and Tristan Keah-Tigh were suspended for 5 games; no. 5, Edward Chambers, was suspended for two games; no. 10, Bryon Elledge, was ejected from the game for two technical fouls and suspended for one game; and players 1, 4, 12, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 23, Elias Her Many Horses, Antwon Winn, Justin Curley, Kobey O’Rourke, Rueben LaSarge, Jordan Goodwill, and Xavier Littlehead, left the bench during the fight and were suspended for one game. Player no. 14 for Haskell was also reported as leaving the bench but did not show up on the roster. 

A joint statement was released by the head coaches from both Haskell and Northern New Mexico with a subsequent statement by the Presidents of the Universities. These statements do not condone the actions of their players and address policy changes and procedures to ensure proper behavior in similar situations. When asked more about these policies Haskell’s Athletic Director Gary Tanner said that Coach Downing was doing a great job with the players, meeting all the requirements of both the A.I.I. conference and Haskell. He was also noted as utilizing this experience as more than just punishment but a tool for training. 

Initially the A.I.I. required Haskell to forfeit their next two games. That was later rescinded, but by that time arrangements with the other teams could not be undone. After forfeiting two games, Haskell’s first game back was going to be a home court rematch against Northern New Mexico College — a show of sportsmanship.

Both teams were no less than professional when they came head to head again on January 3. Tanner described the atmosphere of that game as really good on both sides, but neither team wanted to lose.  The game was close with Haskell edging out the Eagles in a 61-60 victory. In not winning, the Eagles showed great poise said Tanner.

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