By Barbara Aston


For most of our week here on the Palouse the earth has been blanketed with snow and the trees covered with frost.  The snow cushions our footsteps and absorbs the usual sounds of our comings and goings, of our hurried gaits. 

We are guided into the silence and peace, if we allow our minds to grow quiet and observe with our hearts and spirits.  The silence is reinforced as well with most students having departed for home and faculty and staff departing for vacation, holidays, and reduced operations on campus.  We will be here when they return, ready to provide our support while challenging them and one another to continue to learn and grow and lead.

I am writing to you on the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere – winter solstice – when our place on Mother Earth is the furthest away from the sun.  To be precise, the solstice occurred at 5:44 am EST this morning, December 21, 2016.  Just as each day there are the changing times, at dawn when night moves into day, and at dusk when day moves into night, the winter solstice is another changing time, on a bigger scale.  If we pause in silence and we catch the “changing,” we too will be changed; we too can begin again and embrace the mystery.

In this newsletter, we celebrate the stories of three of our graduating students, and wish them well as they embark on this “new” time in their life.  We also celebrate the commitment, passion, and life “changing” experiences of our students who traveled to Standing Rock…taking a stand for sovereignty, taking a stand for our sacred waters, and taking a stand for all of our futures.

May this winter solstice and this Holiday Season be a blessing to you!  May you pause, let go, be renewed, and receive the gifts of this sacred time of year and of new beginnings!

Happy Winter Solstice!

Barbara Aston

Barbara Aston
Director of Native American Programs/Tribal Liaison