by Barbara Aston


Congratulations to our 2017 Washington State University graduates! What a privilege it is to read their stories, their challenges, their accomplishments, and their advice to other students.  In their stories, you will see the diversity of our students and hear their voices. They represent many tribes and educational pursuits.  Some came in as freshmen right out of high school, some as high school graduates with dual college credits, some as transfer students, and some as graduate students.  Some balanced their role as parents with being a full-time student.  I am proud of all of them.  They are not only our future leaders, but they have been leaders here at WSU.  We will miss them!  We hold each of our graduates in our hearts as they move forward. They inspire and confirm the work that we do through our Native programs. They are the main reason that we are here doing this work.

Summer has opened up opportunities for stepping outside of the university and sharing some of our work in Indian Country.  I am just returning from attending the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Scholar’s Forum where along with other colleagues from the Northwest, we were a part of a panel presentation focused on Indian education.  Through our part, we shared information from our experiences and the research assistance of Education Northwest Regional Lab focused on the “Misidentification” of Native American students within K-20 educational systems.  We are all a part of the Tribal Educators Alliance, an alliance between the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Education Committee and Education Northwest.  While I was at NCAI, Faith Price, Assistant Director, was presenting at the Native American Student Advocacy Institute (NASAI), a conference of the College Board.  Faith was part of a panel sharing the same research and concerns.

I hope each of you enjoy our newsletter and are uplifted and encouraged by the stories and accomplishments of our Native people as they complete this stage of their journey and now turn their attention to giving back to their tribes, families, and communities who have supported them along the way.  Blessings for a wonderful summer!