NWIC president receives award honoring Native women leaders

Cheryl Crazy Bull, president of Northwest Indian College (NWIC), was one of four Native women in the Northwest region honored with an Enduring Spirit Award at the 8th Annual Native Women’s Leadership Forum. The event was hosted by the Squaxin Island Tribe at the Little Creek Casino in Shelton, Wash., Sept. 27.

The conference, which celebrates extraordinary achievements by Native women, was developed by the Native Action Network. The Network was inspired by the founding members of the American Indian Women’s Service League, who recognized the social issues Native people would face due to the federal government’s passage of the Indian Relocation Act in the early 1950s.

Crazy Bull was nominated for the award by the NWIC College Board of Trustees for her 30 years of dedication to Indian Education and for her accomplishments as the president of NWIC.

“Cheryl Crazy Bull is a strong Native Leader who has created a positive road to success for NWIC students, faculty and staff,” Julie Johnson, NWIC Board of Trustees vice chair said.

Crazy Bull, a Sicangu Lakota from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, is the third president and first woman president of NWIC, an accredited and tribally chartered institution serving tribes in the Pacific Northwest. She has served in this role since October 1, 2002.

The college has experienced significant growth under Crazy Bull’s leadership, including becoming accredited as a four-year-degree granting institution – the college currently offers a bachelor’s of science in Native Environmental Science — and launching a $44 million capital campaign to build a new permanent campus; 82 percent of the capital campaign goal has already been met.

The college, which started out as the Lummi Indian School of Aquaculture in 1973, has opened several new facilities in recent years, including a dormitory, a dining hall, a child care building, a science building with a lab, the Center for Student Success, a one stop facility for student services, and the first extended campus classroom and office building on the Swinomish Reservation.

Crazy Bull’s leadership extends beyond NWIC. She regularly speaks publicly on the subjects of tribal education, cultural knowledge preservation and revitalization, and community development. Her public service also includes participation in arts and economic development committees and boards.

Background on Cheryl Crazy Bull:

Cheryl Crazy Bull has been recognized by the Lannan Foundation through an Indigenous Leadership Award, and as an outstanding alumnus from the College of Education at her alma mater, South Dakota State University. Her achievements have also been honored by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and by her NWIC employees, who voted her employee of the year in 2003.

Her prior experience includes more than 17 years of service with Sinte Gleska University, a tribal college on her home reservation in South Dakota, and more than four years as the chief educational officer of St. Francis Indian School, a tribally chartered K-12 school, also on the Rosebud Reservation.

In addition to education, Crazy Bull has expertise in economic development and planning, micro-enterprise development, cultural arts promotion and preservation, and in the development of native studies as an academic discipline and institutional development practice.

Degrees and Honors
• Master’s degree, Educational Leadership, South Dakota State University
• Bachelor’s degree, Business Administration/Management, University of South Dakota College of Business
• Honorary doctorate, Sinte Gleska University (2005)
• Honorary doctorate, Seattle University (2010)

• Chair, American Indian Higher Education (AIHEC) board (the consortium of tribal colleges in the United States and Canada)
• Advisory Board, National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center
• Board of Trustees, National Museum of American Indians
• Board member, American Indian College Fund