From left, Donovin Sprague, Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Walt Tribley at Sheridan College in Sheridan, Wyoming. Photo by Clara Caufield / Native Sun News Today

Wyoming college 'turns the corner' with local tribes

SHERIDAN, WY - Sheridan College, a two year institution offering both academic and vocational degrees (considered the best in the area) hopes to “turn the corner” with neighboring tribal communities (mainly Crow and Northern Cheyenne, approximately an hour away) hoping to recruit more Native students in the process said Dr. Walt Tribley, new college President.

The college now hosts 40 Native students in a total student population of 2,000. “We can do better than that, because we have a lot to offer, including housing, a friendly environment and financial assistance” Tribley said.

Sheridan College is located in the heart of traditional Indian lands, the Shoshone-Arapaho, Crow, Cheyenne and many Lakota Tribes, now surrounded by many historic sites. During November 2019, Native American Heritage Month, the college celebrated with a series of events, facilitated by visiting professor Donovin Srague, Cheyenne River Sioux/Cheyenne. Sprague, who holds a master’s degree is key to the success of this effort, Tribley noted.

The events included: November 6: Carlisle Indian School Repatriation by Yufna Soldier Wolf: November 21-22: Workshops for Sheridan College Students by Robert Mirabel; November 22: Flute and Dance Performance, Ethel by Robert Mirabel; and November 25, Photo/Journalist and Documentary Producer by Adam Sings in Timber. In addition, from November 3 to December 19, the Native American Veterans Tribute, provided by the Smithsonian, Museum of the American Indian is on display at the Sheridan College Library. Earlier, the college celebrated the opening of a new Multicultural Center under the guidance of Sprague.

In addition, a highlight of Sheridan College’s Native American Heritage Month Celebration was a surprise visit from Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Northern Cheyenne. During one of his visits to the Northern Cheyenne Reservation to visit friends and relatives, Ben made a detour to Sheridan, also for the same purpose, including elderly cousin Vanna Schwamb, 93, one of the oldest Northern Cheyenne women and certainly one of the most vibrant. The good Senator keeps in touch with his tribal roots.

Though it was a quick trip, when Campbell learned of the Native Veterans Military Display at Sheridan College, he decided to tour that, an exhibit that notes more than 50,000 Native Americans have voluntarily served in the U.S. Military, nearly all volunteers, the highest rate of voluntary service among all American ethic groups.

During his Congressional career, the former Senator authored and shepherded legislation to create the Museum of the American Indian at the Smithsonian, later built to the tune of multimillion donations from around the world.

“Congress approved the Museum of the American Indian, but wouldn’t put up a cent for construction,” Campbell wryly observed.

On the other hand, Congress did provide invaluable land - the last spot on the historic Washington Mall and annually provides an appropriation for staff salaries.


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