Aaniiih Nakoda College Excels at American Indian Higher Education Consortium Conference
March 15, 2023
A large contingent of Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC) Students and Staff recently attended the American Indian Higher Education Consortium Conference (AIHEC) held in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The first student conference was held back in 1980 and has come a long way in 43 years. The AIHEC now includes well over 1,000 students, faculty, and staff representing schools from all corners of the United states to get together each spring and compete in a variety of different competitions including academic, cultural, and artistic exercises. Attendees are encouraged to share stories, participate in workshops, plenary sessions and celebrate the Tribal College Movement.
According to the AIHEC website, "In 2010, the AIHEC Board of Directors, composed of the nation's Tribal College and University (TCU) presidents, requested that AIHEC and TCU staff begin the process of formalizing and standardizing the conference, including competition rules, participation requirements, judging, cost, etc. In 2013, the Board established the AIHEC Student Conference Commission to oversee this process."
ANC was well represented at the AIHEC and had students competing in the Knowledge Bowl, Science Bowl, Archery, the Poster Competition as well as the Hand Games competition in addition to a Poetry Slam.
The students from ANC were highly successful in their competitions and brought home a number of accolades and honors. The Knowledge Bowls objectives are, To Share and strengthen Native history and culture among the Tribal College students and Promote and showcase the talents of public speaking, articulation, and critical thinking among the participants.
The ANC Knowledge Bowl team consisted of Dani Plummage, Morgan Johnson, Neal Hogan, and Serena Chandler and were coached by Braydon Fitzpatrick. The team turned in a fantastic effort and took home second place in the competition.
The ANC Archery team also had a stellar performance in New Mexico. Coached by Michael Kinsey the team of Josiah Longfox, Terron Gray, Weslyn Schilling, and Ethan Werk shot their way to a third place finish.
The Poetry Slam included 38 entries with ANC's own Dani Plummage finishing second place in the competition. The Poetry Slam consisted of four rounds with Plummage shining throughout. The Poetry Slam was created when The AIHEC Student Congress (ASC) and Tribal College Journal (TCJ) united to Create the Poetry Slam with the objective being, "To promote free individual expression and showcase literary talent and skills and provide an incentive for greater literary talent and skill. The Poetry Slam occurs on the same evening as the annual ASC T-shirt Exchange."
The Poster Competition is quite impressive, the All Nations Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ANLSAMP) hosts the annual Poster and Oral STEM Undergraduate Research Competition. Objectives are listed as follows: "Students may compete in either the Poster and/or Oral presentation categories. Presentations will be judged by a panel of judges and scored with prizes awarded to the top three competitors in each category. ANLSAMP's goal is to double the number of American Indians achieving Bachelor degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The National Science Foundation funds ANLSAMP.
ANC was again well represented with student, Shakayla Whitecow presenting on the Fort Belknap Swift Fox Reintroduction. Student, Weslyn Schilling presented his poster display on Using Macroinvertebrates as Bioassessments in the Milk River on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. Rounding out the presenters was ANC student Ethan Werk with his presentation on the Black-Footed Ferret Reintroduction. The Science Bowl objective is stated as, "The Science Bowl format is structured as an all-teams event where teams compete head-to-head at the same time. There are four rounds of play. The first three rounds are played to identify the top six teams based on rankings. At the end of each qualifying round, each teams rank number will be added to their qualification score. At the end of three rounds the six teams with the lowest qualification scores move on to the championship round. The top six teams competing in the championship round start with zero points. This format allows for a greater number of Tribal College teams to compete in the amount of time available for this competition.
The ANC Science Bowl team did very well, the team consisted of Coach Dan Kinsey, along with students, Sonny Gray, Ethan Werk, and Terron Gray. The ANC students and staff certainly represented themselves and the college extremely well.