The Friday Letter Archive

A collection of the president's weekly messages to the Vandal family

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Friday Letter 2015-03-27:
Tutxinmepu Powwow

Please note: this is an archived email message and may not display as originally intended. Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

Dear Friends,
 
Regretfully, this morning’s letter listed the incorrect weekend for the Tutxinmepu Powwow. It takes place April 4-5 in Moscow. Click here for more event details. I hope you will join us then. The corrected letter appears below.
 
Chuck Staben
President
 

Dear Friends,
 
Starting at our main campus on the Palouse, in Nez Perce ancestral lands, the University of Idaho has always been a place where cultures converge, and where we grow stronger by learning from each other and sharing perspectives and traditions. The annual Tutxinmepu Powwow, occurring next weekend, April 4-5, in Moscow, is a great example of the thriving cultural traditions embraced at UI. Powwows are occasions to gather and pass on traditions and teachings — similar, in a very broad sense, to a university mission. We now have an opportunity to enhance that mission.

The Native American Student Center and the Native American Student Association put together the two-day powwow. I was able to attend last year, and this year I’ll have the honor of participating in the grand entry and other events. The public is welcome, and whether attendees volunteer or just take in the fun, it’s a showcase for the vibrant Native cultures in our region. Prospective students participating in the powwow also have the chance to experience our campus and Moscow, seeing what a great atmosphere our university community has to offer.

The Native American Student Center is at the heart of student life for many Native students. I’m proud of the role that the center plays in their UI experience. It’s a place to find academic, cultural and social support — to study and grow as students, to share interests and activities, and to hang out with friends and classmates. I know many talented leaders and future professionals are emerging out of the center and the Native American Student Association.

At an organizational level, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) strengthens UI’s relationship with nearby tribes. The tribes who have come together in this agreement participate in the President’s Native American Advisory Council, which seeks unity and cooperation among Native American students, signatory tribes and UI. A complementary Advisory Board meets twice a year and provides feedback on the development of curriculum, the recruitment and retention of Native American students, and the provision of support services and educational programs. We recently welcomed the Yakama Nation as the 10th signatory to this memorandum of understanding, and I’m very glad we can partner with them on higher education issues and work together to support student success.

I know that right away we can do more for more students. So after extensive deliberation with UI’s Office of Tribal Relations, tribal leaders and others, I have decided that enrolled members of MOU tribes and transfer students from tribal colleges will be eligible for in-state, undergraduate tuition rates at the University of Idaho. Some aboriginal elders and indigenous scholars have described post-secondary education as the “new buffalo,” a sustaining resource for individual and community-wide empowerment. We embrace facilitating that goal for students. In neighboring states, institutions in tribes’ traditional and customary ranges similarly partner with tribes to support access to post-secondary education.

It is my hope that access to one of the best values in higher education will make UI the college of choice for more tribal members. It is my firm belief that we will be taking important steps in building a more diverse, culturally responsive and outstanding University of Idaho for all people.

 


Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
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