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Bush appoints new members to tribal college board

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WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush has appointed two new members to his Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities.

Deborah His Horse is Thunder, current program director of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Leadership Institute and the group's membership services, and Alaska state representative Carl Morgan Jr. (R-Aniak) were named to the national board in late August.

Prior to joining AIHEC's staff earlier this year, His Horse is Thunder was the academic vice president at Fort Peck Community College in Poplar, Mont. She has also worked at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas, was project director for a Montana consortium of tribal colleges and the Fort Belknap Education Department, served in the Montana university system and was a member of the Montana Board of Regents, which oversees the state's higher education facilities and programs.

Morgan has served in the Alaska House of Representatives since 1998. He was a member of the Aniak Traditional Council from 1999 - 2001 and mayor of Aniak from 1991 - 1996.

Other members of the advisory board and their tribal and professional affiliations include:

*Chairman Ron McNeil, a member of North Dakota's Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (Hunkpapa Lakota) and president of Sitting Bull College.

*Dave Anderson, Chippewa and Choctaw; chairman of Famous Dave's of America Inc.

*Eddie Brown, Pascua Yagui; associate dean and director of the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at Washington University in St. Louis.

*Thomas Cole, Chickasaw; president of the political consulting firm Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass & Associates.

*Kathryn Domenici, owner of Communications Services in Albuquerque and an instructor at the University of New Mexico.

*Ann Marie Downes, Winnebago; president of Little Priest Tribal College in Nebraska.

*Daniel Keating, president of Summit Consolidated Group in Tulsa, Okla.

*David Matheson, Coeur d'Alene; chief executive officer of Idaho's Coeur d'Alene Casino.

*Martha McLeod, founding president of Michigan's Bay Mills Community College and current provost and vice president for the college's charter schools program.

*Karen M. Gayton Swisher, Hunkpapa Lakota; president of Haskell Indian Nations University.

*Della Warrior, a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and president and development director of the Institute of American Indian Arts

*Richard Williams, Oglala Sioux; executive director of the American Indian College Fund.

Bush signed an executive order in 2001 that said tribal colleges and universities "fulfill a vital role: in maintaining and preserving irreplaceable languages and cultural traditions; in offering a high-quality college education to younger students; and in providing job training and other career-building programs to adults and senior citizens. Tribal colleges provide crucial services in communities that continue to suffer high rates of unemployment and the resulting social and economic distress."

"President Bush's executive order and this board should be the vehicle to strengthen and secure the tribal colleges, institutionally and programmatically," AIHEC Executive Director Gerald Gipp said in a news release announcing the appointments. "(The tribal schools) are not just institutions of higher education. They are the conduit to tribal governments to further endeavors in their reservation communities whether it be fundamental or innovative health initiatives or economic development. AIHEC and the tribal colleges will continue working to overcome the most prevalent obstacle of establishing parity in federal government funding of the nation's tribal colleges and universities on a level equivalent with mainstream institutions."