New Tribal Wisdom Society Program at CWC

(Riverton, WY) – Tribal Education Coordinator Ivan Posey started the Tribal Wisdom Society this semester at Central Wyoming College to introduce students to the contributions of tribal people and communities through governance, history and contemporary issues.

10 students have been selected through an application and interview process to participate in this inaugural semester including Darious Tillman, Larami Azure, Constance Lehi, Natasha O’Neal, Melanie Oldman, Skyla Shakespeare, Shatoni Shoyo, Zariah June, Burdette Mesteth, and Wiyakaskawin Brown.

The students will attend gatherings this semester, both locally and in New Mexico and Montana. The gatherings will include meetings with tribal elders, history of tribal governance, visits with tribal historians and spiritual leaders, and learning tribal stories and teachings among others. Their agenda for each gathering is dependent upon the pandemic.

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“By learning the traditional values of the tribal community, students will become more familiar with individual responsibilities through their own medicine and contributions,” the program overview states. “These values, which includes kinship and relationships, will assist them in their life journeys wherever they choose to contribute.”

Inspired by the American for Indian Opportunity Ambassador’s Program he was selected for 30 years ago, Posey has worked on creating this program at CWC for the last few years.

The Ambassador’s Program was life-changing, he noted.

“Not just for exposure, it propelled me to a life of public service for my Tribe. I’m sure that this program will have some effects on participants and I hope that they carry some of that through reciprocity and redistribution.”

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Tribal Wisdom Society students will also complete a community project of giving back. One student submitted a plan to build greenhouses on the Wind River Reservation to grow food year-round. Another student proposed the idea of starting a film program for reservation schools to document culture and history.

Students had their first gathering this week with representatives from both the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes. Presentations on history, education, language, and more were covered in just a few days. Next month, they will meet in New Mexico. The program is currently funded by an individual in Jackson.

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