12 Jul 2018

Northwest Indian College hosts AIHEC LIFE Conference

Student Verna King of Leech Lake Tribal College stands looking upon the horizon at Point Whitehorn.  Students attended the 3rd annual Leaders In Future Endeavors (L.I.F.E) Conference which was proudly hosted by Northwest Indian College this year.  Every year, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) L.I.F.E. conference is organized by their Student Congress.  Students travelled from far and wide to attend this event that took place from Monday, June 18th to Friday, June 19th.  Monday, students flew in and later attended a dinner in our very dining hall. Tuesday’s theme was Governance Day, involving speakers Jack Soto of American Indian College Fund and Celina Phair a Lummi Nation Council Member.  Wednesday was Entrepreneurship Day, including speakers Felisha Adams an Entrepreneur and Artist and active member of the Diné Nation, as well as, Northwest Indian College Tribal Governance & Business Management faculty Adib Jamshedi. Lastly, Thursday served as a Cultural Day, allowing students to explore Lummi and surrounding areas.  Students were able to begin the day with a morning hike through Point Whitehorn, eat lunch on the beach of Semiahmoo. After a picnic, students travelled to Stommish grounds to be welcomed by the Three Sisters Canoe Family. The three canoes were filled up as students were able to experience the Salish Sea.  This was the first time some of the attendees had ever seen the sea.

In an interview with Estabon Hayes the President for the AIHEC Student Congress expressed, “The conference is unique because it is completely organized by the student congress, from booking flights, accommodations, speakers, and working with the hosting institution.” Leroy Grafe, Historian of the student congress explained, “L.I.F.E was created to make it more accessible for elder students and non-traditional students. It also offers a chance for travel for those who have not been able to explore other native communities in the United States.”

The conference ended with a traditional dinner made by NWIC kitchen staff Anna Coultee and her family. A special thanks to all kitchen staff for their hard work.  If you are interested in attending the next L.I.F.E. conference please contact AIHEC 121 Oronoco Street Alexandria, VA 22314  703.838.0400.

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