Nwic glossary 12 September 2006 aihec american Indian Higher Education Consortium

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12 September 2006
AIHEC American Indian Higher Education Consortium

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium was founded in 1972 by the presidents of the nation’s first six Tribal Colleges, as an informal collaboration among member colleges. Today, AIHEC has grown to represent 34 colleges in the United States and one Canadian institution. Unlike most professional associations, it is governed jointly by each member institution.

AIHEC’s mission is to support the work of these colleges and the national movement for tribal self-determination. Its mission statement, adopted in 1973, identifies four objectives: maintain commonly held standards of quality in American Indian education; support the development of new tribally controlled colleges; promote and assist in the development of legislation to support American Indian higher education; and encourage greater participation by American Indians in the development of higher education policy.

Northwest Indian College’s president, Cheryl Crazy Bull, is currently serving a second term as AIHEC’s president.

AISES American Indian Science and Engineering Society

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society was founded in 1977 by American Indian scientists, engineers and educators. In view of the high dropout rates and low college enrollment and graduation rates of American Indians compared with all other ethnic groups in the United States, and the severe under-representation of American Indians in the science and engineering fields, these Native professionals resolved to create an organization that would identify and remove the barriers to academic success for Native students.

Northwest Indian College has an active AISES chapter.

Allotment (see Dawes Act)
American Indian Probate Reform Act
The American Indian Probate Reform Act (AIPRA) was signed into law by President Bush on October 28, 2004. The legislation introduced by Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado and supported by former Secretary of the Interior Norton reforms American Indian Probate rules and helps to facilitate the consolidation of Indian land ownership across the nation.

The American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (S. 1721) provides valuable tools to the Department of the Interior, Tribal governments, and individual Indians to facilitate the consolidation of Indian land ownership in order to restore economic viability to Indian assets. The Act amends the Indian Land Consolidation Act and amendments made in 2000.


The Act creates a new nation-wide probate code that changes how Native trust property will be distributed among heirs if one dies without a will. Other changes include amended definitions of “Indian” and “eligible heirs” for purposes of inheriting in trust. The changes also provide opportunities for Indians or the tribe to purchase one’s interest in trust or restricted land at probate.


One of the main purposes of the Act is to preserve the trust status and reduce the number of small, fractionated interests in Indian lands. The Act does this by providing individuals and tribes with more opportunities to consolidate fractionated interests and by removing some restrictions on what tribes and individuals can do with their lands.


Something created by humans usually for a practical purpose; especially an object remaining from a particular period, e.g. caves containing prehistoric artifacts.

A product of artificial character (as in a scientific test) due usually to extraneous (as human) agency

Assimilation Policy, 1871 to 1934

Following the Civil War, all tribes officially resided on reservations. All too frequently, Indian life on the reservations was accompanied by profound poverty, suffering, even starvation. Many reservations resembled prison camps. Tribal members were required to work for rations, even though such rations were already paid for, many times over, by massive land cessions. During this time the BIA literally took charge of Indian life, a paternalism that was to continue for decades.

Religious and social organizations rallied to provide relief for the plight of the Indian but often in exchange for profound changes in their spiritual and cultural life.

Unrest and hostility continued, however; the principle cause was the BIA’s continued failure to honor treaty commitments along with repeated demands for tribal land cessions. The general sentiment in Congress was that the government should stop negotiating with tribes as sovereigns and instead “assimilate” them into mainstream society. Not an easy task given that Indians, already through 400 years of contact, had tenaciously refused to relinquish their identity.

In its effort to gain legal control over the tribes to affect assimilation, Congress passed an act ending all treaty making with tribes in 1871. This began the era of assimilationist lawmaking.

“I greatly fear that the adoption of this provision to discontinue treaty-making is the beginning of the end in respect to Indian Lands. It is the first step in a great scheme of spoliation, in which the Indians will be plundered, corporations and individuals enriched, and the American name dishonored in history.”

Senator Eugene Casserly of California, 1871

BIA (see Bureau of Indian Affairs)

Boarding Schools

Assimilation was the goal of the BIA off-reservation boarding schools, which were established to “kill the Indian in him and save the man” (Capt. R.H. Pratt, Supt., Carlisle Indian Boarding School), as well as of the Catholic mission schools. Indian children were required to abandon their language, dress, and religious practices. More than 50,000 Indian children were taken—often kidnapped—from reservation homes and placed in boarding schools between 1880 and 1930.

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