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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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Student Online Experience During COVID-19 Pandemic

May 30, 2020 - 6:17pm

Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) transitioned to an online approach for the remainder of the spring and summer 2020 semesters. For the spring semester, HINU made the decision to extend spring break an extra week and resume classes on Monday, March 23rd. This gave time for HINU staff, faculty, and students to adjust, make personal arrangements, and begin preparing for the online transition. 

Students were asked about their adjustment experiences to the online version of classes instead of in-person for the remaining spring semester which ended Thursday, May 7th. HINU students mentioned that the transition was hard, unexpected, and overwhelming. HINU student James Benson said, “Overall, the transition was okay given the circumstances. I felt overwhelmed sometimes, and got the impression that no one quite knew what to do. But I think it turned out okay in the end.” 

When classes resumed after spring break, students were informed that instructors were to notify them of the next steps for their courses. A student survey was sent out by instructors asking what available resources students had, did the students have access to the internet, and where the students were located for mailing purposes.  The instructors were gathering information on how they were to proceed with the impacts of COVID-19 to the best of their ability given students’ needs and their course curriculum. HINU student Nels Smith expressed his thoughts on how instructors handled the whole situation. Smith said, “A lot of instructors made necessary adjustments to accommodate students…”

Some students felt that the online courses gave them some unnecessary frustration. For example, there were some technical issues for HINU student Joey Mczegle. Mczegle expressed how in multiple courses assignments were difficult to complete due to different circumstances. Mczegle says, “Worth mentioning is being better equipped for people who have online trouble such as links directly to assignments.”

Overall, no one saw this transition coming and had to face it head on. HINU made the decision to press forward with online courses and close the campus following guidelines and regulations for the COVID- 19 pandemic. Smith mentioned, “Online courses can work.” This is not the end, but a new start for HINU to tackle new obstacles that may lie ahead.

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Crock Pot Moose Stew

May 30, 2020 - 6:15pm
  • 3 lbs moose roast 
  • 3 cup beef broth 
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 2 cup celery 
  • 4-5 potatoes 
  • 3 large carrots 
  • 6 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 stick butter 
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
Photo by Diamond Williams Instructions

1. If frozen let roast sit out for the day, if thawed remove roast from fridge and let sit out for 30min-1 hour to bring meat closer to room temperature. 

2. Mix salt, pepper and chili powder, cover roast with mixture and allow to rest for 20 min.

3. While the roast marinates in the seasonings, set a large pan on the stove on medium to high heat.

4. Add butter and a couple sprigs of fresh thyme and fresh rosemary to the heating pan. When the butter has completely melted, add the seasoned roast searing both sides, about 5 min each side. 

5. While the roast is searing, chop up the onions and celery, add them to the crockpot. 

6. Pour the beef broth over the chopped onions and celery. Add a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary. 

7. Once the roast is done searing, add all contents of the pan into the crockpot. 

8. Dice the garlic and add on top of the roast. 

9. Cube potatoes, add on top of the roast.

10. Set the crockpot to high and cook for about 3 hours or until potatoes get soft. 

11. Cut carrots and add to the crockpot, continue cooking on high for an hour. 

12. Once carrots are cooked, remove 1 cup of broth and any visible rosemary or thyme twigs and the roast. 

13. Cut roast into cubes and return them back into the crockpot. 

14. Add cornstarch to the cup of removed broth. Stir until no clumps are visible. Return the broth to the crockpot and stir.

15. Serve and enjoy.

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Blood Quantum?

May 30, 2020 - 6:12pm

What does it mean to be Native? Well, most would think feathers, pow wows, drumming and living in teepees. Now Natives are all different; we come from different tribes and blood quantum. But we have been letting the idea of Blood Quantum control our ideas of what “Native” is. We have been separating ourselves from each other because someone doesn’t act Native or doesn’t look Native enough. Sophomore Jeffrey Powell said he has felt singled out from an experience in a class for being a White passing, straight male — feeling like “you don’t belong here.” 

    Our first thought of mixed Native bullying is to always look for the White passing individuals, but what about the mixed Natives that are different tribes? Zee is a Student at Haskell who is Hopi, Navajo, Tewa, and Laguna Pueblo, and who has experienced bullying because of her Navajo and Hopi sides. It’s no secret that the Navajo and Hopi people don’t like each other a little bit, but for adults to bully a child because of her tribe is surprising. As a Navajo myself, this disgusted me. I thought the hate between the Navajo and Hopi people was just a joke. But thinking of it as a joke doesn’t help the people who are being affected by it.

If we could bring awareness of the bullying among our communities maybe we’d be able to get along better. The discrimination among our fellow students is hurting them and overall, it’s hurting ourselves. We are making it seem as though we are better than them because they didn’t grow up on the reservation or they aren’t “full-blooded”. If we help one another and lift each other up our communities will be so much better.

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Away From Home – Update

May 30, 2020 - 6:11pm

Part 2 — The National Endowment for the Humanities, “Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories” has opened the conversation between this generation and the previous generation about what occurred during the time of the Boarding School Era. Which is where we start to ask our grandparents about what they experienced from that time.

I asked my grandpa all about what he experienced during his time at the boarding school he attended. My grandpa, Oliver Iyua, attended Intermountain Boarding School in Utah. The boarding school taught him how to dance, various sports, and how to speak English. While there if he spoke in his Native Language, Navajo, he would get his mouth washed out with soap. But he said going to boarding school was good for him because from everything he learned is what got him his job and his family. The school he attended only went to 8th grade so he never got a high school diploma. Once they were done with school he was told to pick a place that he wanted to live and look for work. He chose to go to Chicago, Illinois.

Even though he went through all of this I was curious if he would ever go and visit the “Away from Home” traveling exhibit. He said he would so he could see what others experienced during their time there. Also that he didn’t care if these stories were being shared because it was a long time ago. He knows that everyone has experienced their time at their boarding school differently. Maybe seeing how everyone experienced the Boarding School Era will give us the knowledge of what our grandparents had experienced and brought us closer at this time.

Click for Part 1

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Sports Awards

May 25, 2020 - 10:39pm

Association of Independent Institutions(A.I.I.) Awards

Women’s Basketball:

First Team A.I.I. Conference: 

Janee Bates, Senior

Honorable Mention A.l.l. Conference: Odessa Begay, Freshman 

Champion of Character: Janee Bates, Senior 

Men’s Basketball:

First Team A.l.l. Conference: 

Nakia Hendricks, Senior

Honorable Mention A.l.l. Conference: Bryon Elledge, Senior 

Champion of Character: Elias Her Many Horses, Junior 


2020 A.I.I. Conference Team: 

Kylee Sellers, Junior 

Deja White, Junior

2020 A.I.I. Champions of Character: Halia Shirley, Freshman 


2020 A.I.I. Conference Team:

Layne Braswell, Senior 

2020 A.I.I. Champions of Character

Layne Braswell, Senior 

Cross Country: 

Second Team A.I.I. Conference: Tristan Antonio, Sophomore 

Uriah Little Owl, Junior 

Athletic Stat Board:


Cailey Lujan, Senior: Highest Aces per Career, 117; 1000 Digs Club 

Sophia Honahni, Senior: Highest Digs per Season, 707(2019); Highest Digs per Career, 1681; 1000 Digs Club 

Men’s Basketball:

Nakia Hendricks, Senior: Most Rebounds in a Single game, 23; Most Blocks in a Season, 41

P; Most blocks in a Career, 112; 1000 points club

Bryon Ellegde, Senior: Most Assists in a Season, 119; Highest Assist Avg in a Season, 4.1; Most Assists in a Career, 365; Highest Assist Avg in a Career, 3.4; 1000 points club

Tristan Keah Tigh, Senior: Highest Scoring Avg in a Career, 13.3; 1000 points club

Women’s Basketball:

Janee Bates, Senior: Most Points in a Single Game, 39; Most Assists in a Single Game,13

Justine Butterfield, Freshman: Most Blocks in a Single Game, 9

Peer-Based Awards:

Men’s Cross Country:

Most Valuable: Dorian Daw

Horizon: Nelson Yazzie 

Most Improved: Ibuki Hara 

Women’s Cross Country:

Most Valuable: Shamiqua Nez

Horizon: Kyra Crank

Most Improved: AJ Holder

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Sweet Garlic Salmon

May 22, 2020 - 5:40pm
  • 1 filet salmon
  • 1/2 yellow onion 
  • 3 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 butter
  • salt 
  • crushed chili pepper
  • fresh rosemary 
  • tin foil
  1. Wash salmon and cut in to serving size pieces 
  2. Place each piece of salmon on its own piece of tinfoil that can fold over and cover the whole piece. 
  3. Sprinkle salt and crushed chili peppers over salmon pieces. 
  4. Dice garlic and place into a small container, add most of the brown sugar with about 2 tablespoons set aside.
  5. Spread the garlic and brown sugar mix over the salmon covering the flesh. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar over the salmon pieces. 
  6. Cut onion in half keeping the root attached so that you do not cry. Cut onion into moon crescent shapes without separating the onion pieces. 
  7. Place unseparated pieces of onion on to op the garlic/brown sugar covered salmon pieces. 
  8. Cut butter equally to the amount of salmon pieces you have. Place butter pieces in the center of the salmon pieces and garnish with a piece of fresh rosemary. 
  9. Fold over the tinfoil wrapping the salmon and sealing all the edges so that no liquid comes out. 
  10. Let the salmon marinate while the oven heats up to 325°, bake for 20 min. 
  11. Remove salmon from over and let sit for 5 min.
  12. Unwrap, server with rice or cauliflower rice and enjoy.

Sweet Garlic Salmon before wrapping in tin foil to cook. Photo by Diamond Williams

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Vacant HINU President Spot Filled

May 12, 2020 - 11:28pm

Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) filled the vacant university president position after over a year of interim presidents. Ronald Graham Ed.D., Eastern Shawnee of Oklahoma, updated his Facebook status yesterday with the position title of HINU President and made an appearance today on campus.

Graham currently lives in California and visited HINU for the vacant position back in fall. Graham wrote on social media “I fell in love with this university, faculty, staff, and students when I visited there… This school does so much with so little. It is a direct stepping stone for our Native American [and Alaska Native] students who attend there and achieve their aspirations upon graduation.”

Graham received his Doctor of Education in 1995 at the University of San Francisco in Organization and Leadership; International Multicultural Education. Graham is a former dean of Victor Valley College and has experience with four other universities. Other occupations have included realtor, pilot, deputy sheriff, police academy coordinator, security training coordinator, and law enforcement professional.

Graham is veteran, man of God, family man and loves his dog Barron which shares the name of the plane which Graham enjoys flying. HINU welcomes Graham to our campus and into of the HINU community.

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Student Safety Jeopardized by Violation of Fifth Amendment

April 15, 2020 - 8:00am

A Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) student was vacated from the university dorms during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic over allegations of intimidation and harassment of a Haskell employee without due process to appeal the decision. 

HINU athlete Russell Parker received a HINU Action Notice for an Emergency Level II suspension from Danelle McKinney, Student Rights Specialist, that required Parker to leave campus during stay-at-home orders from the state. The notice outlined that Parker wasn’t currently allowed to appeal allegations against him but was allowed to appeal his “Permanent Loss of Housing.” Parker says he is unaware of how an appeal for housing would work at this time since there are policies in place to keep students who have left campus from returning among HINU’s COVID-19 response efforts and he’s currently required to be off campus until his hearing.

Parker’s suspension is based on allegations of “harassment of Haskell employee” and “intimidation by student to Haskell employee.” These allegations came as a shock for Parker, and contrasts the Report Synopsis Overview in the Incident Report which states that “[the] student failed to comply with verbal directives from Facilities Staff.” The referenced directives in the report had asked Parker to move his car and golf mat and move onto the current golfing range.

According to the incident report, Steven LaCour, Acting Facilities Foreman stated “… I noticed that he had a golf club in his hand and was getting very agitated.” The surrounding text does not support that Parker, who was golfing, threatened LaCour, but  mentions Parker accusing him of being on a “power trip” and calling him an “a–hole” when he walked away, both protected rights under the First Amendment as well as the Code of Student Conduct. Parker feels LaCour embellished his report by describing Parker as “belligerent” and “agitated”; LaCour referred to himself as acting “kindly.”

In addition to LaCour’s statement being taken in the incident report by Ernest Wilson, Acting Supervisor: College Resident Assistant, LaCour’s account was also recorded in the activity log of Lead Security Officer James Yarnall who LaCour asked to confront  Parker. Yarnall wrote that after asking Parker to move his car and to golf on the range, the “student packed up his stuff and left” and “did not say much to me.” He did note that Parker seemed “irritated”.

Parker’s own experience was not documented by either the security activity log nor the Incident Report used to determine Parker’s suspension. Despite his best efforts to advocate for himself, Student Rights is not allowing him to appeal their allegations.

As a federally funded school, HINU is bound by constitutional rights including the right to due process which is also part of the Code of Student Conduct. The code of conduct says “every student, student organization, and campus organization is entitled to due process and appeal in every instance of disciplinary action for alleged violation of Haskell expectations.”

This decision and lack of due process puts Parker’s life in danger. Parker said “it’s like walking around with a bomb strapped to my chest” referring to him trying to find temporary housing off campus in the midst of the pandemic. Parker also showed concerns for it’s effects on his financial situation and how it will affect his scholarships. Parker had told Tonia Salvini, Vice President of University Services, through email that this would “leave [him] homeless at the height of a pandemic.”

For Parker to be charged with Intimidation or Threat outlined in the Code of Student Conduct, LaCour would have to have had “a fear of bodily harm” or feel threatened by word or action “ of a perceived threat to inflict bodily harm.” In Parker’s message to Salvini,  he told her that these allegations simply aren’t true and that “at no point did [he] approach Mr. LaCour or say anything that would imply a threat or violence.” Allegations of intimidation automatically trigger an additional charge of harassment due to HINU defining intimidation as a form of harassment.

Parker has been receiving support from his peers who have witnessed Parker golfing over the past few weeks during isolation before the incident. Haskell student, Michael King said “Haskell protects their employees more than they protect their students”. The climate of the current COVID-19 pandemic has complicated relationships between students and staff. King said “I feel staff is targeting students and pointing blame at them for [COVID-19]” and that the staff thinks “… their health is at a greater risk than students…”. One of LaCour’s coworkers commented on an Indian Leader Facebook post that he felt it was a “very bad choice to let students live here” and he feels like staff aren’t equipped to protect themselves. One of LaCour’s relatives also posted concerns that “essential staff have families too” referencing the fact that students who are staying on campus put them, the staff and their families, at risk (see article “When Home isn’t ‘Home’ “).

Not only is Parker up against a mindset that students on campus threaten staff safety, but Parker’s peer, Marklin Morales says “I don’t doubt race had something to do with it.” Parker told Indian Leader that as a bi-racial non-traditional student, he doesn’t look like his peers and that has caused challenges for him including this incident.

A study from the American Psychological Association (APA) found that black men, in hypothetical situations, were perceived as more “capable of causing harm…” Parker said, “I don’t like playing the race card”, but he finds that his bi-racial status affects his life, even in Black and Native communities. This comes several weeks after multi-racial Black students discussed their discrimination  on HINU’s campus at the Black History Month Student Panel.

Parker is one of at least five students who have been vacated during HINU’s isolation through allegations of breaking the Code of Student Conduct, and it is unknown if the others were given their due process, and if there was any consideration for their safety during this pandemic. Parker’s hearing for Permanent Loss of Housing will be Friday April 17, Parker’s birthday.

Vice President of Student Services Toni Salvini, Student Rights Specialist Danelle McKinney, and Acting President Jim Rains were given an opportunity to comment before publication with no response.

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HINU Pandemic Response Summary

April 13, 2020 - 2:36am

March 12 — Haskell Indian Nations University students received their first of many directives from the university regarding their COVID-19 pandemic response. This email set into motion many questions and further university policies to act on the changing climate of the pandemic.

The email extended spring break an additional week providing the University time to create the infrastructure to continue courses through distance learning. This email originally intended to have student safety re-evaluated after several weeks, potentially resuming on-campus classes — this was later replaced with the message that distance learning would continue the remainder of the semester, that the summer semester would be online, and that fall semester may potentially be held on campus.

Further information was given through the Vice President of Student Services who addressed students who were on campus for spring break directly. In her addresses, Salvini presented a message of student safety as a priority. Salvini wanted students to know that actions were informed through a continued partnership with the Douglas County Emergency Response Team. This information provided a safety-window for student travel that later public statements identified as of March 17, where until then, students could return to campus to get their belongings. This safety-window was coupled with a strong message that students who were home during spring break should remain at home, and that students should work with the university to create exit plans.

These exit plans were created to make sure students had a safe environment to return to and to collect student’s financial and personal needs for HINU to assist in the student’s return. It is the Indian Leader’s current impression that HINU has been the only university to offer financial assistance in securing plane tickets, bus fares, lodging, and gas cards, among other travel aid for students. Salvini said, “The University is assisting financially with all the arrangements on all transpiration.” 

During this time, Danielle McKinney, who was coordinating transportation arrangements, had collected roughly 30 requests for aid at that time — 9 flights and 21 ground transportation. That number quickly rose after the 3 o’clock mandatory student meeting later that day. Additional funds were given by the Haskell Foundation and Student Government voted to donate their remaining $20,000 in student funds to help. HINU has not made itself available to comment on how student money was used, and how many students received travel aid. Students were able to request travel aid up-until Monday, March 16th.

Student “housekeeping” questions were addressed. Students’ belongings left on campus would be packed and recorded. Any illegal items would be turned over to authorities, and there would be no student write-ups with the exception of possession of weapons. Packed belongings would only be shipped to students graduating this semester and not returning in the fall.

Students were also instructed to update addresses and file electronic fund transfer requests with the student bank to assist with financial aid and student work payments. Students were also directed to update forwarding addresses with the post office and direct any additional questions to HINU’s new information line phone number, 785-830-2770, and email,

However, students were not evicted from the campus as many institutions had done. HINU noted that there would be a population of students on campus who had to make an informed decision on their safety and situation. Exit plans were a strategy to prioritize student safety, reduce the on-campus population, and reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Additional isolation policies were put into place for students remaining on campus. Campus facilities adapted to the challenge of self-isolation. Students were moved to single occupancy rooms in two dorms, Winona and Blalock, and a one-in-one-out rule went into effect for picking up to-go meals from Curtis. Students were also required to sign an updated housing contract and sign medical releases in the event students are tested for COVID-19.

Throughout these policies, HINU has been criticized for its ability to communicate. Instructor Freda Gipp addressed her concerns to the administration, “We have students out in Indian Country hearing from their friends when they should be hearing from you all”. Faculty was blindsided by questions from students and parents after students on campus shared information from a dorm hall meeting over social media. This information was not shared with the faculty and did not go out through public statements. Off-campus students shared their own frustrations. One student commented on social media that the campus should “communicate with all students rather than relying on word of mouth.”

Acting university President Jim Rains, Ph.D. explained that the Bureau of Indian Education needed to approve of any documents before they are made public and said, “You can expect the information not to come out as quickly as you would like.” Public documents HINU released are available following this article on

Featured image of Tonia Salvini addressing students. Photo by Zachary Arquette.

Current Release on as of April 13, 12
:30 pm

“Information Update for Haskell Indian Nations University“

Below are copies of documents released by Haskell Indian Nations University pertaining to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Note: HINU updated their responses to the pandemic as the threat increased meaning documents should be viewed as a collection with most recent information superseding previously released documents.

Released March 12, 11:14 amDownload

“Haskell is Extending Spring Break and Delaying Resumption of Classes Until March 23.”

Released March 13, 10:38 pmDownload

“Haskell Communications on Ongoing Haskell Operations and Academic Functions”

Released March 14, 11:00 am Download

“If you are returning to campus for the 1st time from spring break”

Released March 14, 2:46 pmDownload

“Student Housing Announcement”

Released March 17, 11:02 amDownload

“Haskell I.T. Helpdesk / Password Resets”

Released March 18, 9:15 amDownload

“Haskell’s Acting President’s Message”

Released March 24, 4:14 pmDownload

“Haskell Classes Resume”

Released March 26, 2:18 pmDownload

“Vehicles on Campus”

Released March 27, 2:48 pmDownload

“Mail Center Options”

Released April 3, 1:17 pmDownload

Haskell E2 Alert for a self reported case of COVID-19 on campus

Released April 6, 5:54 pmDownload

“Frequently Asked Questions as of 4/06/2020”

Additional student documents related to COVID-19 responses

HINU Code of Student Conduct FormDownload

Students were required to sign new student conduct forms if staying on campus.

Authorization for Medical DisclosureDownload

After self reported case, students were asked to sign a medical disclosure for test results for COVID-19 in the event the student is tested.

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2020 Census

April 13, 2020 - 2:24am

Many students have been displaced as a result of universities closing their campuses in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. This is all taking place right as the US Census Bureau is completing the 2020 census. It is important for students to know how they will be counted and what impact being counted has on their community.

The US Census Bureau wants Americans to know that though many lives have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that everyone complete the census and understand their residence criteria. College students living off-campus should complete the census for their off-campus living arrangements. These students may fill out the census online at

Students who live in student housing and living on campus on Census Day are counted with college/university student housing. However, due to the effects of COVID-19 shutting down campuses, the US Census Bureau has issued a statement that college students will still be counted as living on campus even if they were home on April 1st.

Parents of students filling out their own census should not include their children if they were living on a college campus. On-campus students do not need to complete a census; HINU will complete the census on the student’s behalf as part of the Group Quarters Enumeration operation with the US Census Bureau.

It’s important for census data to be reported accurately because census information affects community federal funding. It’s vital that students are counted in the communities they are going to school in because they provide funding for roads, public transit, and health clinics according to the US Census Bureau. It is important then to make sure that HINU has updated contact information for students, so students may be contacted in case additional information is required to complete the census.

While HINU has not indicated it’s method for completing the census for students. There are two likely methods according to the US Census Bureau—a student housing representative will “complete one form listing all students, compiled using data from administrative records. The representative has the option to complete a version of this form online using a secure portal, or to have a census taker pick up a paper version ” or the representative may “give each student a questionnaire and collect them after they are completed. Then, the census taker will return to pick them up from the representative.” HINU and off campus students have until August 14th to complete the census.

“Counting College Students” – US Census Bureau

College Towns Depend on Accurate Count of Students Living in Area” – US Census Bureau

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When Home Isn’t “Home”

April 13, 2020 - 2:18am

Haskell Indian Nations University recently came under fire after releasing a statement documenting an on-campus student’s self-reported positive test result for COVID-19. The public wanted to know why these students weren’t “home” when weeks earlier HINU provided both financial and personal support to get students back to their families. This also comes during Kansas’ mandated stay-at-home orders.  So what does “home” mean for these students, and why aren’t they with their families?

First, to contextualize HINU’s message, during the travel safety window students were required to create travel safety plans. Tonia Salvini, Vice President of University Services, told students that if going home wasn’t an option that they should write that on their travel plans. HINU administration did not make themselves available to comment on how many students remained on campus, but the Indian Leader estimates that number to be less than 10% of enrolled students.

HINU’s pandemic policies humanized its students in creating a process that was meaningful to the safety of each student, and for some, it wasn’t being sent away. One student, 69 years old and in the vulnerable category for COVID-19 said, “Haskell is a good place to be right now.” HINU is also home for others during this time for various reasons.

Though each of these students has their own personal reasons for remaining on campus, the public should understand that many break the mold of teenage college students who have families to return to. For some students, being evicted would mean being homeless, the Haskell community is the only family for some. And in others, their families may be toxic, containing abusive relationships and dangerous situations involving drugs and other safety risks. Student safety considerations don’t just surround COVID-19.

For others, there were health concerns, either being immune-compromised or having a family member who is and travel exacerbating the potential of infection or return to hotspots. Health safety is also a concern for those coming from non-reservation communities. Without access to Indian Health Services, they would not have access to healthcare for existing health conditions or assistance in the event of a COVID-19 infection.

The COVID-19 pandemic is exposing all types of privilege. While students remaining on campus have great gratitude to HINU and it’s faculty for allowing them to stay when many universities evicted all of their students, community members should realize there is a privilege in having a safe alternative to return to other than HINU.

Featured image of student waiting in turn to pick up a meal at Curtis Hall. Photo by Jared Nally

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The Haskell Glow-Up Coalition

April 13, 2020 - 2:10am

The Experience of attending Haskell Indian Nations University (HINU) is comparable to no other. There are many factors that go into this experience. The unique academic, and social atmosphere make up a good portion, but there is also a great deal to be said about the surroundings.

The HINU campus, established in 1884, is rich in culture containing architecture designated as U.S. Historic National Landmarks. The experience one gains from being amongst these 12 nationally recognized buildings as well as the approximately 640 acres of land they occupy  — including the HINU wetlands recognized as a National Natural Landmark — play just as important a role than any other in the overall experience.

This overall HINU experience, however, can be downgraded when the campus starts to show signs of wear and tear. Aging and maintenance are, of course, a factor for any campus and is managed wonderfully by HINU facilities. Unfortunately, there is only so much facilities can do amid their various duties to this magnificently active campus.

That is where the Haskell Glow-Up Coalition steps in. This organization, initiated by HINU instructor Tyler Kimbrell, aims to keep the overall HINU experience up to par by involving, who better than, HINU students and staff who utilize the campus day to day. The brilliance of this concept is the ability to respond to the observations of students and staff who might see the need for campus improvements that facilities might not due to their busy schedules.

The starting agenda for the Glow-Up Coalition has been based on staff and student run cleanup activities. One such recent cleanup activity has been in response to the naturally occurring fallen branches from the many robust trees throughout campus that signify HINU’s extensive history. It was important that this clean up be done while the winter weather was still active so that the new foliage could properly grow. Other activity goals in response to HINU’s prolific history have been to touch up, or glow up, the campus by maintaining building appearances, adding a community tree swing, and helping repaint structures in need.

Still in its infancy, the Haskell Glow-Up Coalition is a HINU community-based organization taking initiative to create and fulfill goals for the enrichment of campus life. The ideas being generated can only enhance our time together at HINU because this coalition is in essence by the students for the students. The possibilities are limitless when our knowledge is shared to build a better experience for the next generation to enjoy which is an integral part of Native tradition. 

Featured image of the Glow-Up Coalition posing for picture. Photo by Marklin Morales

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Jude Thin Elk

April 12, 2020 - 9:20pm

The news of our very own hits tremendously for Haskell Indian Nations University’s community, but directions towards healing and rejoicing need to be lionized. On March 16th, 2020 the HINU campus experienced and received word of what no one wishes to hear, our beloved relative and Haskell student Jude Thin Elk suddenly passed away on campus.

The catastrophe created an uproar and sadness sweeping through the HINU community with this devastating news. We can remember and never forget this time of sorrow but may bask in the wonderful memories of getting to know this young man.

As we know him, Jude was here at HINU to pursue his education. When being accepted into this university you are not only becoming a student, you are becoming part of the Haskell family. This cohort of a family will always have a place for every HINU student on their journey. Jude’s determination towards self-growth and gaining knowledge as a student is not now and never will be overlooked. The Haskell family is proud to say he was here to better himself while proceeding on his educational path.

Jude also made friendships along the way. Many saw him as a person always smiling and laughing. Current student Trey Jimboy says Jude was someone he could always talk to and about anything. They met when Jimboy’s roommate brought Jude over, uniting them together. 

Jimboy goes on to explain his memories and best moments with Jude; one memory of Jimboy, his roommate and Jude just having good time together, enjoying each other’s company while walking towards Curtis Hall. These memories that were shared with this beautiful soul will not be forgotten. Jimboy says “I just hope that other people got to see Jude for who he was before passing,” and he wishes for everyone to remember, “that he was just a kind, relaxed person who always seemed to be laughing or smiling and not letting things get to him.” 

May Jude forever be rejoiced.

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Lifting Spirits through Virtual Powwows

April 12, 2020 - 9:10pm

Even though we may be miles apart, we are closer than ever. With the touch of our fingertips, people from around the world have access to interact and lately have been doing so even more. With the newest pandemic, COVID-19, stay-at-home orders and social distancing have been recommended from our cities, states, and countries to take action.

However, this has not stopped Indigenous peoples from Turtle Island from coming together. With the wonders of the 21st century, technology and social media, we have been doing that and more. 

Indian country is filled with the love of tradition, customs, art, song, and dance. These things and much more are being showcased on the world wide web through the new Facebook group the Social Distance Powwow. This group was established on March 17, 2020 and is currently overflowing with more than 140,000 members and counting. Vogue says “…this healing act is more important than ever…” this group is celebrating and spreading positivity. The people are not falling into a path of sadness or worry but the opposite, being strong and resilient through these distant times. 

This group is intended as an online powwow for dancers to share their footwork, artists to show their skills, singers to bust out their best leads and most of all healing for the people. The interactive Social Distance Powwow has accomplished much in less than a month — dancing and singing specials being sponsored to t-shirts being made in commemoration of this joyous unity. 

Navajo Times mentioned “its growth has been exponential, in a good way!” and the group mentions that this is a space for all to showcase themselves and their talents gifted to each other. May this be an inspiration to keep our heads high and stay Indigenous strong for this distance physically keeping us apart from each other; it will never keep our spirits apart.

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Erdrich Visits Haskell

April 12, 2020 - 9:03pm

March 11 — There was a reason for Haskell Indian Nations University students to stay in Lawrence over spring break. Lawrence welcomed acclaimed Ojibwe author Louise Erdrich.

Erdrich graced HINU’s Auditorium stage with a reading of her latest novel, The Night Watchman, which is based on her grandfather and his fight against Native dispossession. This incredible event was made possible through the collaboration of HINU, the Raven Bookstore, and Lawrence Public Library.

Erdrich has published over two dozen books, many of which are bestsellers and award winners. In 2015, Erdrich was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for the Writing of Fiction by the Library of Congress to honor her work. In addition to writing, she promotes learning and tradition at her bookstore, Birchbark Books, in Minnesota.        

Erdrich’s work is particularly impactful for HINU students, as she often writes based on personal experiences. As an author of poetry, short stories, and novels, she has brought life and attention to Native American literature throughout her career. From poetry, children’s stories, or complex novels, there is something for every reader in Erdrich’s canon.
Elementary education majors may be interested in her Birchbark House books in particular. This series of children’s chapter books focus on an Ojibwe family and their experiences during the chaos of the 1800s. Fans of dystopian fiction should try Future Home of the Living God, the story of an Ojibwe woman amid the chaos of a destroyed Earth. Readers of Erdrich’s adult work should be aware; she does not shy away from difficult topics; Her 2012 National Book Award winner, The Round House, centers around the sexual assault of an Ojibwe woman.

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Shining Elk Productions Presents its Virtual talking Circle to Haskell Students Amid Isolation

April 12, 2020 - 8:53pm

During these times amid the  COVID-19 pandemic, the only certain thing we’ve had is uncertainty. Uncertainty of this virus and the endless influx of changing news reveals how much we rely on stability. From this uncertainty grows a need for something to remain constant and this need has been answered over the airwaves in the form of broadcasts through telecommunication platforms like Zoom or Skype.

Up until this pandemic, these platforms were mainly used for business meetings or webinars but during this time of isolation and quarantine, these platforms are being used as the main delivery method of entertainment and virtual community gatherings.

One such virtual gathering occurs at Haskell every Thursday evening from 9 to 11pm in the form of a talking circle that is providing much-needed consistency to our campus and its surrounding community. The Shining Elk Productions Virtual Talking Circle is the brainchild of Haskell Alumni Patricia Pena. Patricia says, “I came up with this idea to collaborate with artists mostly from the entertainment industry”.

The Virtual Talking Circle is a mixture of Native American artists stemming from coastal based entertainment industries made possible by Pena’s connections made during her years as a press credential holder at the Sundance Film Festival. Pena, along with DeLanna Studi (niece of actor Wes Studi) and Michelle Shining Elk bring together native entertainers such as Kalini Queypo, Princess Lucaj, and Sheri Foster Blake (who’s extensive film credentials must be looked up due to the brevity of this article) for weekly conversations that are known to reach well beyond film industry discussions.

Pena notes that “When people have good intentions, others can feel and see it and that makes everything come together. Each week I ask an interesting person via Facebook Messenger and they are always up for the idea of people helping people”.

Past guests have included Valente Rodriguez of the George Lopez show; Tiffany Smith, Anoa’I Executive Vice President of Global Inclusion at CBS; and many other contributors in Native film and entertainment. Another contributor is Theda Newbreast of the Blackfeet nation who leads the syndication in prayer before every discussion.

The final product is a collaboration made available to Haskell students via staff Tonia Salvini and Lori Hasselman as well as students Joseph Sing and myself.

However, this collaboration is not limited to people interested in the entertainment industry. As Pena puts it, “Thursday is a collaboration of Native people who make themselves available because we all care about our tribal communities”. For Native people, community has been a constant throughout history, leaving the doors open to all like-minded supporters of community-based projects.  Bringing our community together through projects such as the Shining Elk Productions Virtual Talking Circle shows that during these times of uncertainty, some things will remain certain and one of them is the Native ability to consistently create ways to keep each other strong through communication.

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Indigenizing Face Masks

April 12, 2020 - 8:44pm

When there is a will, there is a way. Multiple orders from across the U.S. have instructed individuals to wear face masks in conjunction with taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In some cases, these orders will be followed through with penalties when not in compliance.

The city of Los Angeles has done just that with consideration of protecting its people. The Los Angeles Times mentions multiple scenarios when a fine or penalty would be engaged. For example, if a business will not provide or reimburse their employees for purchasing their own personal protective equipment, it would result in a fine or further, not complying with the order could result in a misdemeanor.

The city of Laredo is just a little over 150 miles south from San Antonio, Texas and sits on the Mexico border. Time says, “The penalty for violating the order is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1,000.” This fine is for residents of Laredo who do not wear a face mask when going out into public or public buildings including transportation and pumping gas.

This brings an opportunity for the Indigenous community to use their creativity and include their style. Many have been gathering materials to follow these orders around the U.S. even if they are non-medical masks. Haskell student Kayla Bointy mentioned how she would utilize her Kookum scarves for going out in public. They bring a symbolic indigenized look.  Indigenous people are having to find their balance in this modern world — let alone during this time — we strive to keep these traditions and customs alive.

Indigenous artists’ creativity may come from within and demonstrates a sense of identity as indigenous people, maintaining our cultural identity of who we are as indigenous people, especially through the current pandemic. Haskell student Jared Nally expresses his views on indigenous artists’ take on the face masks pieces that he has seen. Nally says, “I feel like seeing beaded masks on social media for me shows that great events we experience together, like COVID-19 pandemic, does not mean Indigenous erasure. These are symbols for me of Native Identity being present, resilient, and crafting our own experiences.”

Bointy comments on how there was a need to sew her own masks became of the necessity and gave her own preferred flair to her masks. She says, “Other native people who are beading and using Pendleton to make masks I think is awesome! It just shows the beauty and resilience of our people. It shows we can always adapt and make something ours.”

Featured image of Kayla Bointy’s sewn face masks. Photo by Kayla Bointy.

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