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The Northwest at a glance 'USDA gives grants to tribal colleges'

SEATTLE – Nearly $4.7 million in grants have been awarded to 16 tribal colleges through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Tribal College Initiative Grant program.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the funding on Aug. 30, saying, “These grants will help make necessary improvements to facilities on every campus.”

Fort Peck Community College in Poplar, Mont., will use its funds to help construct a 3,840-square-foot dormitory. Stone Child College in Box Elder, Mont., will purchase equipment to establish a technology laboratory and two technology/vocational education classrooms.

Northwest Indian College in Bellingham will build a child care facility. More than 60 percent of the students at the college are women and 85 percent of those students are single mothers with at least one child. The new child care facility is expected to have a positive impact on student recruitment and retention.

The colleges went through a competitive process to win funding and will be awarded the money during this fiscal year.

<b>College hosts summit on ‘service learning’</b>

LUMMI, Wash. – Northwest Indian College hosted the 2006 Summit on Indigenous Service Learning Sept. 10 – 12 at the campus’ Center for Service Learning.

Service learning inspires students “to know more about themselves and their tribal ways,” college President Cheryl Crazy Bull said in a press release. “These experiences can serve as the foundation for social action, which is critically needed to overcome poverty and loss in our communities.”

Participants included community elders, educators and cultural specialists who recognize the importance of service – giving back – to the community. The summit offered workshops from professionals and leading experts on the pairing of service learning and indigenous communities. The gathering featured a cultural sharing night, where conference participants shared stories, songs, teachings or presentations from their home community.

The gathering allowed time for service-learning professionals who work with Native populations to talk about ways to introduce service learning into communities in Indian country.

<b>Aztec dancers perform at state Folk Arts Fiesta</b>

EDISON, Wash. – Los Bailadores del Sol, a troupe of folkloric and Aztec dancers from Yakima, helped lead the Folk Arts Fiesta Sept. 17 on the beach at Bay View State Park.

The free, public event was part of the state Parks and Recreation Commission’s initiative to celebrate some of the rich cultural traditions of the region.

Also on the festival stage: Trino y su Mariachi Diamante, from Outlook, near Yakima; Mariachi Estrella del Norte, from Wenatchee; and locally known performers Virginia Rico and Stephanie Martinez.

Support for the Folk Arts Fiesta was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission.

<b>Tovey accepts new role at development corporation</b>

SEATTLE – Dave Tovey, Umatilla, is the new executive director of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians Economic Development Corporation.

Tovey is the corporation’s founding president. He agreed at a June 27 board retreat to relinquish his seat as president and become executive director effective July 1. Mike Marchand, chairman of the Colville Tribes, succeeded Tovey as president.

As Umatilla’s economic development director in the early 1990s, Tovey was the driving force behind the Wildhorse Resort development and was named Oregon’s Economic Development Leader of the Year in 2001 by then-Gov. John Kitzhaber.

Tovey is a member of the boards for the Oregon Tourism Commission, the Indian Land Tenure Foundation, the Oregon Native American Business and Entrepreneurial Network, and the Oregon Rural Policy Advisory Council. He is president of the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute Trust Board.

In his new position, “Our first challenge is to reconnect with the many past funders and partners of the organization and assure them of our intent and enthusiasm to continue to provide services and products to the tribes of the Pacific Northwest,” he said in a press release. The EDC board wants to more fully connect with the member tribes and “ask our customers what we can do to help,” he said.

<i>Richard Walker is a correspondent reporting from San Juan Island, Wash. Contact him at