American Indians and the Harvard Experience

July 3rd, 2012  |  Published in Education  | 

O’siyo. Education is one of the most important elements in one’s life. According to many Native people,  there are two types of education, “mother wit”  from where you gather vital knowledge from parents, culture, and community. The other is often referred to as “book knowledge”  where you gather knowledge about everything else from formal school training. Where you go to receive this second wave of education depends on many elements, and can get confusing, especially  for many high school students. Fortunately, there  are people such as Jason Packineau, who guide students and show them the  many opportunities  for them in preparing for various paths to college.

 Excerpt: An Echo of Harvard in New Mexico By Jon Chase, The Harvard Gazette

“My name is Jason. I am Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Jemez, Laguna. I was born here. This is my home, said Jason Packineau, community coordinator for the Harvard University Native American Program, as he opened his presentation at the Native American Community Academy in Albuquerque in typical fashion by naming his tribal affiliations.

The purpose of the trip was to generate interest for Harvard among Native American students, as well as to host a Harvard booth at the National Indian Education Association conference in Albuquerque.” Learn more...


Packineau speaks to a group of Bernalillo High School students

For many of the high school students we visited, the Harvard name was simply an abstraction. But when they learned the College waives tuition for families earning less than $65,000, and will even fly out prospective students who have been accepted, you could almost see the wheels turning in their heads as they gathered up more Harvard literature from the table…”

An excellent opportunity for all Natives!  Kudos to Packineau and his staff for reaching out.

“I don’t think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.”~Wilma Mankiller

Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”)  Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.

We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpedia which offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes.  Included are Discussion Questions for students.

Visit some our reader’s favorite posts!  Many thanks.


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MIT Seeking American Indian Students for Summer Program!

January 21st, 2012  |  Published in Education  | 

MIT Summer Research Program Seeks Diverse Candidates, ICTMN Staff

MIT campus


Dr. Sophia Cisneros, a Dr. Martin Luther King Postdoctoral Fellow at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)  has announced that they will be accepting applications for their Summer Research Program in engineering and science fields.

“…According to, Dr. Sophia Cisneros, a Dr. Martin Luther King Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT, the program rarely receives applications from interested Native American students, and as a Native from the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw tribes, Cisneros would like to see this change…Students who participate in this program will be better prepared and motivated to pursue advanced degrees, thereby helping to sustain a rich talent pool in critical areas of research and innovation…”


MIT students.


To learn more visit: MIT Summer Research Program

OR:  Call 617-253-4860

OR: e-mail

MIT Application Information Here

NOTE: The deadline for applications is February 3, 2012.

Kudos to Dr. Sophia Cisneros and to MIT!

“Education must provide the opportunities for self-fulfillment; it can at best provide a rich and challenging environment for the individual to explore, in his own way.”

~Noam Chomsky~(1928-)

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President Obama Donates $125,000 of Nobel Prize Money to American Indian College Fund

March 14th, 2010  |  Published in Education  | 

Written by PR Newswire

Friday, 12 March 2010, Native American Times

Richard B. Williams, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund stated, “We are thrilled that President Obama has chosen to publicly acknowledge the work the American Indian College Fund is doing in Indian Country by sharing $125,000 of his prestigious Nobel Peace Prize award with us…”

The AICF provides financial support for American Indian students attending Tribal colleges throughout the Nation. This is a generous contribution from President Obama, and one that is well deserved.

Good article.

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Indian Education Awaiting Federal Primetime

January 13th, 2010  |  Published in Education  | 

By Rob Capriccioso, Indian Country Today

Story Updated: Jan 12, 2010

WAHINGTON – If one area important to many Native Americans received less attention than it deserved in 2009, it was Indian education.

This is the opening statement of the article concerning the need to improve American Indian education in this country.

Attempts have been made in this direction, an example being the meeting of Tribal Leaders on Capitol Hill in November, for the 40- year anniversary of the Kennedy Report, whose focus was education.

John Echohawk, director of the Native American Rights Fund stated,

What Indian education really needs today is an individual like Robert or Ted Kennedy in Congress who truly understands and embraces full tribal sovereignty in education…

The National Indian Education Association notes that some funding for education was received by some tribes as a result of February’s stimulus legislation.

Indian educators  will make their concerns known to federal lawmakers this year.

This is an important  article that should be read by everyone.

Indian College Found?

January 1st, 2010  |  Published in Education  | 

By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer, Harvard Gazette

Archaeologists at Harvard University have discovered the remnants of a wall trench, what they believe to be one of the University’s oldest building (1655-1698) an American Indian College. The Indian College was built to house Native American students,

“as part of the University’s original mandate to educate the youth of both European settlers and Native people.” The excavation was one of many and is connected to the class, “Archaeology of Harvard Yard, which is offered every other autumn. The class is taught by William L. Fash, Director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.

There is an exhibit currently at the Peabody Museum, “Digging Veritas: The Archaeology and History of the Indian College and Student Life at Colonial Harvard,” which will remain on view through January 2011.

The Natives Americans at Harvard College (NAHC) is the current Native American undergraduate club at Harvard. It has been in existence since 1972, but at that time was known as American Indians at Harvard. The group has undergone several changes since that period. The students represent a variety of tribes and backgrounds. These include the Taino, Seminole, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes.

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Cornell’s Akwe:kon melds learning with dorm living

November 17th, 2009  |  Published in Education  | 

Indian Country Today By Babette Herrmann, Story Published: Nov 10, 2009

Cornell University built their first Native-themed residence hall, Akwe:kon, nearly 20 years ago, in honor of the Iroquois Nation Mohawk people. From the architecture to the furniture, every element was planned to represent American Indian culture.

“…The building was erected in the shape of an eagle with its wings stretched north and south, symbolizing watchful protection.”

Today, of the 35 students living in the co-ed dormitory, half of them are American Indian. As a continuation of the American Indian culture studies on the campus, Cornell has established several programs for American Indian students on and off campus. There are annual powwows, smoke dances and other ceremonies. There is also a volunteer program that tutors Indian students at the Lafayette High School once a week.

This is an uplifting article that focuses on an American university that still helps American Indian students remain connected to their culture while learning new information, and creating new friendships.

Discussion Questions for Comprehension

Directions: Review any new vocabulary words from the article.

1. What is the name of the American Indian residence hall at Cornell?

2. Why was it built?

3. When was it built?

4. What shape is the building?

5. Who lives in the dormitory?

6. Discuss some of the activities The Ongwe Hall Council plans.

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