NWIC students prepare, donate food to Little Bear Creek elders

Make A Difference Day is the largest national day of community service, during which millions of volunteers around the world unite to improve the lives of others. At Northwest Indian College (NWIC), this day did not go unrecognized, thanks to the dedication of students and the community-service-oriented force that is the college’s Indigenous Service Learning Office.

On Oct. 24 – three days before the official Make a Difference Day – NWIC students gathered under the college’s old apple trees, which are some of the last remains of the orchard that grew on campus before it was campus.

The trees still flourish, bursting with apples each fall. This fall was no different. The trees did very well. Occasionally, an NWIC student or employee picks one up for a snack, but many of the apples remain on the ground until they are absorbed back into it.


Regarding the Initiation of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Section106 Review of Northwest Indian College’s Coast Salish Institute

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has offered Northwest Indian College(NWIC) a grant to construct a new Coast Salish Institute.  NEH is an independent grant- making agency of the United States government dedicated to supporting research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.  This public notice is issued as part of NEH’s responsibilities under 36 C.F.R. Part 800, the regulations which implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 470.  NEH, as a funding agency, is required by regulation to identify and assess the effects of any proposedactions on historic properties.  If any proposed undertaking will have an adverse effect on historic resources, NEH works with the appropriate parties to seek ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate any adverse effects. Additionally, the Section 106 regulations require NEH to consider the views of the public on preservation issues when making final decisions that affect historic properties.

Golf fundraiser garners $18,500 for NWIC athletics

Northwest Indian College’s 10th Annual Big Drive for Education Golf Scramble raised $18,505 for student athletics and athletic programming – that’s up from last year’s Golf Scramble, which brought in $17,000. Money was raised through a combination of team sponsorship, tee sponsors and raffle sales.

Ten teams participated in the event this year, held Sept. 14 at the North Bellingham Golf Course in Bellingham, Wash.

“It was a great day, the weather was nice and we saw some great golf shots,” said Greg Masten, director of NWIC’s Development Office, which organized the event. “Congratulations to the winning golf teams.”

NWIC conference brings together tribal food sovereignty leaders

From left, Miguel Hernandez, JB Williams and Shin-Gee Dunston hold bowls of vegetables that were cooked in a pit oven at the Our Food Is Our Medicine conference, held in early September on Bainbridge Island.
From left, Miguel Hernandez, JB Williams and Shin-Gee Dunston hold bowls of vegetables that were cooked in a pit oven at the Our Food Is Our Medicine conference, held in early September on Bainbridge Island.
In early September, more than 130 tribal food sovereignty leaders and learners gathered to share stories of community programs that have helped regional tribal members return to more traditional, healthier diets, and to share traditional food and cooking methods.

The gathering, called the Our Food is Our Medicine: Revitalizing Native Food Traditions Conference, was organized by Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Institute of Indigenous Foods & Traditions and held on Bainbridge Island. The three-day conference attracted people from as far as Minnesota, Alaska and California, said Meghan McCormick, coordinator of the Institute, which is part of NWIC’s Cooperative Extension Department.   

Greg Masten hired as new NWIC director of development

This summer, Northwest Indian College selected Greg Masten, a member of the Yurok Tribe, as the new director of the college’s Development Office.

“I am very excited to be a part of the Northwest Indian College Foundation team,” Masten said. “I accepted this position because I believe very strongly in tribal sovereignty and empowering tribal nations and their members through education. This perfectly matches the mission of Northwest Indian College.”

In his new position, Masten’s overarching goal will be to support student success. He will accomplish this by working directly with the NWIC Foundation to plan, develop, coordinate, manage and implement various fundraising strategies and activities.

NWIC expands construction trades program to meet local need

Faced with an increasing number of local construction projects, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) and the Lummi Nation’s Tribal Employment Rights Organization (TERO) have teamed up to provide the community with more opportunities for advancement in the construction trades.

While NWIC has had a construction trades program on the books for the past two decades, the program has been offered in a limited capacity for periodic classes in recent years, said Fran Dodson, director of workforce development at NWIC. That’s in part because the college was without an adequate facility to accommodate the programs.

On Aug. 28, 2012, that changed – that’s when TERO signed an agreement stating the organization would partner with NWIC to rent a 7,500-square-foot facility at 1460 Slater Road. According to the agreement, TERO will pay to rent the facility and NWIC will pay all other costs, such as utilities, instruction and instructional and student materials.

Want to help revitalize Native food traditions?

Learn how while participating in food demonstrations, medicine making and plant walks

Studies show that returning to a more traditional diet can help Native Americans improve health and reduce problems such as diabetes. People from throughout Indian Country have put those findings to work and are contributing to the revitalization of Native food traditions.

Many of those individuals will gather to share stories about how they have successfully steered their communities back to traditional ways of eating during Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Institute of Indigenous Foods & Traditions first annual conference, Our Food is Our Medicine: Revitalizing Native Food Traditions.

“We are hosting this conference because we believe it’s important to honor the work that is being done to revitalize Native food traditions,” said Meghan McCormick, coordinator of the Institute of Indigenous Foods & Traditions, which is a program of NWIC’s Cooperative Extension Department. “Our traditional plants program receives requests every year to present at various conferences, and now it is an honor to host our first annual conference that will bring those involved with this revitalization together in one place.”

Grant will help NWIC increase food sovereignty in Swinomish community

Northwest Indian College’s (NWIC) Swinomish site recently received a $45,000 grant intended to help increase access to traditional and fresh foods in the Swinomish community. The grant was awarded by the First Nation Development Institute’s Native Agriculture & Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI).

“This funding will strengthen food sovereignty and self-sufficiency at the household and local level in the Swinomish community. Specifically, it provides the means for the community and students to develop a diverse demonstration garden at our site,” said Jessica Gigot, NWIC science faculty.

NWIC president moves on to new leadership role in Indian Education

Cheryl Crazy Bull to be succeeded by Justin Guillory, NWIC dean of academics

Cheryl Crazy Bull, who has served as Northwest Indian College (NWIC) president for nearly 10 years – during a period of significant growth at the college – will leave in August for Denver, Colorado, to fill the soon to be vacated seat of American Indian College Fund president and CEO. Dr. Justin Guillory, dean of academics at NWIC, was selected by the college’s Board of Trustees to take over as president upon her departure.

“Justin Guillory is a good choice for the next president of NWIC,” Crazy Bull said. “The Board looked for an individual who is inspiring and can motivate others, and Justin has shown that he can do that. The Lummi community and our college community were very welcoming to me and are very supportive. I hope that the same welcome and support will be given to Justin in his new role as NWIC President.” 

NWIC represents tribal colleges at nation’s capital

Northwest Indian College (NWIC) was one of two tribal colleges invited to present at the Campus and Community portion of the 46th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, an event that has been called the world’s largest cultural conversion. The festival was held on the National Mall in Washington, DC, from June 27 to July 8.

The Campus and Community theme at this year’s festival commemorated the 150th anniversary of the land-grant system, which was created by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 when he signed the Morrill Act, granting tracts of land to the states in order to endow public universities.