The First Lady’s Unforgettable Day at Santa Fe Indian School

14 Images from the First Lady’s Unforgettable Day at Santa Fe Indian School

Santa Fe Indian School Principal Dr. Felisa Gulibert used the word “elation” to describe her school’s response to hearing that First Lady Michelle Obama had accepted their invitation to speak at the May 23 commencement ceremony. And the day was as magical as they all anticipated.


Mescalero senior wins Bill Gates Scholarship

Dave Tomlin, Ruidoso News       May 10, 2016

Albert ValdezA Mescalero High School senior has been named a Gates Millennium Scholar, an honor that comes with a guarantee of full financial support for his college and post-graduate studies and an array of other services and benefits.

“It pays for everything,” said Albert Valdez, “tuition, meal plans, housing, plus tutoring and mentoring.”

Underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Valdez’s scholarship is one of 1,000 awarded this year, winners culled from a record 53,000 applicants nationwide, “one of the most competitive candidate groups in the program’s history,” according to the notice he received.

Also perhaps one of the luckiest. Valdez and the other 999 recipients named this year are receiving the very last grants from the $1.6 billion program.

“It was a 20-year investment, or until the money ran out,” Christa Moya, the program’s director of financial aid and student services, told the Navajo Times recently. “It’s been darned near 20 years.”

The scholarship’s website says it “was established in 1999 to provide outstanding, African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with significant financial need an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.”

Valdez, who is Chiricahua Apache on his mother’s side, plans to study computer science, specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence. He said he’ll get his undergraduate degree in engineering with a minor in business from New Mexico State University, then go on to the University of Wisconsin for his master’s, which the Gates program will also cover.

The youngest of five siblings and the first in his family to go to college, Valdez has worked hard for his achievements. But his counselor, Lisa Morales, said he has also found time and energy to help and mentor his classmates and to assist teachers in trouble shooting their desktop computers and PowerPoint presentations.

“I have a lot of confidence in him,” she said. “I’m going to really miss him.”

Valdez appreciates knowing that the Gates guarantee could carry him all the way to a PhD, but he said he doesn’t plan to go for one.

“You don’t have to decide that right now,” Morales quickly interjected. “You may change your mind by then.”

While that may be true, Valdez has been very clear for some time about his ambitions and goals.

“I’ve been fascinated with robots since I was a freshman,” he said.

His ambition is to develop a machine equipped with a level of artificial intelligence “that can create and think for itself, function just like a human being does.” With such a robot, he said, “instead of taking steps forward with technology, we could take leaps.”

A fan of science fiction literature, Valdez acknowledged the risk that he might be creating a machine that would take over the world and kick human beings to the curb, but that doesn’t faze him.

“That’s always a problem, but I’m curious,” he said with a grin.

Valdez chose New Mexico State partly on the strength of its engineering program and partly because he was persuaded it would be smart to stay close to home for the first part of his college career. He picked Wisconsin for his post-grad work after attending its Engineering Summer Program last year.

“I met a lot of the professors,” he said. “Plus the food was good.”

10th Annual NM Native American Economic Summit

2016 10th Annual New Mexico Native American Economic Summit

‘Celebrating 10 Years of Economic Impact: Building Partners for Youth & Indian Country’

Guu waa dzi zi hauba !  Greetings from the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of NM.  We Welcome you to our newly designed Registration Portal.   Over 2 1/2 Days, we will host our 2016 Summit Opening Reception, 10th Annual Golf Classic, Roundtable / Panel Discussions,  5 ‘Impact 2016’ Initiative Sessions and will have over 85 Resource Partners.

In the spirit of ‘Collaboration’, we have teamed up with the NMSBDC Network to host the 2016 NM Small Business Week Awards Celebration Luncheon.  Please take time to register your organization and Thank you for your Support !

Start your Registration for our 10th Annual Economic Summit by visiting our website :


AIGC E-News (February 9, 2016)

Save The Date: AIGC Reception April 27th, 2016


AIGC Opportunities!

The following AIGC Opportunities are open for Academic Year 2016-2017

Undergraduate Opportunities:

  • Accenture
    Deadline: May 1, 2016
  • All Native American High School Academic Team
    Deadline: May 1, 2016
  • REDW Native American Scholarship in Accounting
    Deadline: May 1, 2016
  • Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship in Business & Hospitality
    Deadline: May 1, 2016
  • Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program
    Deadline: May 13, 2016

Graduate Opportunities:

  • AIGC Fellowship
    Deadline: June 1, 2016
  • BIE Loan for Service
    Deadline: June 1, 2016
  • Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund (STEM LFS)
    Deadline: June 1, 2016
  • REDW Native American Scholarship in Accounting
    Deadline: May 1, 2016
  • Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship in Business & Hospitality
    Deadline: May 1, 2016



2016 Gates Millennium Scholarship application Closed

Congratulations to the students who submitted a completed application.
Best of luck to each and every one!

Open Society Foundations

US Programs, Special Initiatives and Partnerships Program Officer Position The deadline for applying online is February 9.

The Open Society Foundations seeks a Program Officer for its U.S. Special Initiatives and Partnerships unit within U.S. Programs. Special Initiatives and Partnerships leads the foundations’ work with its largest domestic multi-issue and multi-capacity grantee organizations as well as grantees that build capacity, advocacy impact, and political participation from diverse communities and those that advocate for fiscal equity. Beyond grantmaking, the unit leads a project exploring the U.S. in the year 2020, via an exploration of shifting demography, escalating challenges to a participatory democracy, and what civic capacity will be necessary so that communities of color, immigrants, low-income people, and young people can be heard and that public priorities reflect their aspirations and challenges. A full description of the position is online here.


Foreign Service Officer Trainees in the Foreign Agricultural Service

posted on USA Jobs on February 1, 2016
Deadline: February 17, 2016.

The Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) is a small but dynamic foreign affairs agency with approximately 135 Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) in 93 offices in 72 countries around the world. FSOs are responsible for supporting FAS efforts at agricultural trade promotion; trade policy; trade capacity building and food security. FSOs can expect to spend about a third of their career serving in USDA/FAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. in positions throughout the agency.

Successful applicants to this announcement will enter FAS as Foreign Service Trainees to work and train in Washington, D.C. for an average of 16 to 24 months, followed by assignment to an overseas post. Candidates demonstrating the necessary competencies and achievement will be commissioned into the Foreign Service and can look forward to professional careers with increasing rank and responsibility which average 25 years.


AIGC Executive Director  Position Open

The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) is looking for a dynamic Executive Director to lead the organization. The successful candidate directs, plans, and organizes AIGC programs and personnel; executes AIGC functions, programs and fundraising goals to achieve providing fellowships to American Indian/Alaska Native graduate students; and maintains and cultivates partnerships at the tribal, local, state, and national levels with organizations and individuals that are committed to the mission of AIGC. Master’s Degree in Business, Public Administration or related field plus five years executive management experience of a non-profit, educational or related organization; PhD preferred. Five years in successful fundraising and fiscal management experience including budget development, oversight and reporting. Prior experience working on behalf of tribes and/or tribal organizations and building local, regional and national relationships and partners required. Native American strongly desired and preferred. Must be able to successfully pass a pre-employment drug/alcohol screen and background investigation.

Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program

AIGC LogoApply online January 2016 for 2016/2017 funding

AIGC Online Application

Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine
Assistance Program
In memory of Jane Wilson Hooper and Col. Philip L. Hooper

Wilson-Hooper Veterinary Medicine Assistance Program


If you love animals and possess the desire and ability to pursue a degree at an accredited college or university, you may be qualified for funding from the Wilson-Hooper Vet Med Assistance Program.

•    Pursing a degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) or Veterinary Technology (Associate of applied Science Degree).
•    Enrolled full-time in a nationally accredited college or university in the U.S.
•    Enrolled or a descendant of a federally-recognized American Indian tribe
•    Awards are merit-based
•    Maintain a B average
•    Opportunity for Multi-year funding

Apply online in January 2016 for 2016/2017 funding at

AIGC and Wells Fargo Collaborate to Support Native American Higher Education Program


AIGC Prepares to Launch Directed Program for American Indian and Alaska Native Higher Education Services

Albuquerque, NM – October 20, 2015 – The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC), a non-profit organization dedicated to improving cultural and economic wellbeing for individuals and tribes by supporting post-secondary education, announced today that it has received a grant from Wells Fargo to administer a comprehensive program of support for American Indians and Alaska Natives in higher education.
The San Francisco-based financial services firm is providing financial, human and other resources to support AIGC’s efforts to build, promote, and honor self-sustaining American Indian and Alaska Native communities through education and leadership. With this support, AIGC is launching an outreach program to engage and encourage American Indian and Alaska Native students to seek scholarships and other educational services available through AIGC.
“Wells Fargo is committed to providing educational opportunities and resources to help develop the next generation of diverse leaders,” said Gigi Dixon, senior vice president and director of strategic partnerships for Wells Fargo. “Through our national relationship with AIGC, Wells Fargo is able to help Native American students achieve their academic dreams and experience success in their community and beyond.”

New AIGC programs funded by the Wells Fargo grant include scholarships
for American Indian and Alaska Natives pursuing bachelor’s degrees. Outreach

For additional information about the Wells Fargo American Indian Higher Education Program and Scholarships, please visit
efforts for this new scholarship opportunity will include community-based events planned in December 2015 and through May 2016. These events will be hosted in
four different regions of the United States for college bound students and their families.

“Wells Fargo is a long-time supporter of AIGC. We are deeply grateful for their new investment in our mission, which, in addition to scholarships, will enable AIGC to provide extensive resources to American Indians and Alaska Natives who are pursuing higher education. Additionally, we will be able to offer resources to those people who are helping students to access degree programs, in transitioning to higher education, and to identify the resources that will make them successful college students,” said Joan Currier, Acting Director of AIGC
AIGC has given more than 17,000 scholarships over its 46-year lifetime to American Indians and Alaska Natives, many of whom now hold high-ranking positions.

About the American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC)
AIGC is a national organization, based in Albuquerque, NM, providing educational support through scholarships since 1969.  AIGC is a national provider of scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Native graduate and undergraduate students.

We provide financial support for American Indians and Alaska Natives seeking higher education and support them in attaining undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. We partner with Tribes, the federal government, foundations, corporations, and individuals to ensure the growth and sustainability of scholarships.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 12,800 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

American Indian Graduate Center, Inc.
3701 San Mateo NE, Suite 200, Albuquerque, NM 87110
(505) 881-4584

The GMS 2016 Application




Who’s Eligible?

Students are eligible to be considered for a GMS scholarship if they meet all of the following criteria:

• Are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American
• Are a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the United States
• Have attained a cumulative high school GPA of 3.3 on an unweighted 4.0 scale or have earned a GED
• Will enroll for the first time at a U.S. located, accredited college or university (with the exception of students concurrently pursuing a high school diploma) in the fall of 2016 as a full-time, degree-seeking, first-year student. First-time college enrollees can also be GED recipients.
• Have demonstrated leadership abilities through participation in community service, extracurricular or other activities
• Meet the Federal Pell Grant eligibility criteria
• Have completed and submitted all three required forms: the student’s application (Nominee Personal Information Form), an evaluation of the student’s academic record (Nominator Form) and an evaluation of the student’s community service and leadership activities (Recommender Form) by the deadline of January 13, 2016.
• Application may be found at

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.

The program selects 1,000 talented students, each year, to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. Gates Millennium Scholars are provided with personal and professional development through leadership programs, along with academic support throughout their college career.

The American Indian Graduate Center Scholars (AIGCS) is the American Indian/Alaska Native partner for the GMS scholarship.

AIGC is now part of Amazon Smile!


Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to American Indian Graduate Center whenever you shop on AmazonSmile.

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at, you’ll find the same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

On your first visit to AmazonSmile (, you need to select a charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping.

Support AIGC by shopping at AmazonSmile. Click here to link directly to in support of AIGC!

AIGC is Seeking Advertisers for the Fall Magazine!

The American Indian Graduate Magazine Spring 2015THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVERTISE IN FALL ISSUE OF “THE AMERICAN INDIAN GRADUATE” MAGAZINE!  The deadline to submit advertisements is July 5, 2015.



Benefits of Advertising:
• Recruit and Enroll Native Students
• Connect with Graduates and Professionals
• Recruit Native Employees
• Reach Native American Leaders
• Develop New Business in Indian Country
• Receive Benefits on AIGC Social Media

If you have any questions or would like to advertise in the next issue of The American Indian Graduate magazine, please contact Mario. Click here for the AIGC Ad Spec Sheet or click here to view previous issues.

If you are not on the AIGC mailing list and would like to receive a hard copy, an electronic copy or, if you have recently moved and need to update your contact information, please click here.

AIGC 7th Annual Reception and Silent Auction

AIGC invite 2015-1



The reception will be held on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, located at 2401 12th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104.

During this event, AIGC will recognize and honor exemplary people and alumni who generously support programs, and organizations that make a difference in Indian Country and have been unwavering in their support of AIGC and its mission.

This year AIGC will honor the following:

Robert J. Miller, AIGC Alumnus
Alicia Ortega, AIGC Alumna
Randall Willis

Light Hors D’Oeuvres will be served!  Hope to see you there!

Please RSVP here.





Scholarship Opportunities for High School Seniors

Offical American Indian Graduate Center LogoGMS LOGO-Cropped


    Online scholarship Applications!

The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) and The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS) are accepting applications for scholarship opportunities available to High School Seniors:

• The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (GMS) 

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice. Gates Millennium Scholars are provided with personal and professional development through leadership programs along with academic support throughout their college career.

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.

The American Indian Graduate Center Scholars (AIGCS) is the American Indian/Alaska Native partner for the GMS scholarship.

The deadline is Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:59 pm EST. Please click here for more information.

• The All Native American High School Academic Team

The AIGC All Native American High School Academic Team (ANAHSAT) honors ten American Indian and Alaska Native high school students. The key element, to be given most weight by the judges, will be a student’s outstanding original academic, artistic or leadership endeavor. The judges will be influenced by the student’s ability to describe that outstanding endeavor in his or her own words.

The deadline is March 6, 2015.  Please click here for more information.

All inquiries regarding this program should be directed to

• The Accenture Native American Scholarship Fund

Each academic year, Accenture selects students who demonstrate character, personal merit and commitment to the American Indian community, locally and/or nationally. Merit is demonstrated through leadership in school, civic and extracurricular activities, academic achievement and motivation to serve and succeed.

The Accenture Native American Scholarship Fund is currently closed.  Please click here for more information.

All inquiries regarding this program should be directed to

More AIGC scholarship programs will open in the near future, watch for them on our website at


GMS Pine Ridge


Growing up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Caine Ghost Bear spent hours every day with his great-grandmother. After losing his father at just three years old, she became a major force in Caine’s life, cooking for him and sharing stories about how much she had loved being a nurse.

When she passed away during Caine’s sophomore year of high school, he says it nearly “ended his world.” But her spirit inspired Caine to study hard, to remain connected to Lakota culture and language, and to avoid the temptation of drugs and alcohol.

This week, all of that hard work and perseverance paid off. Caine, along with five of his fellow seniors at Red Cloud High School, learned they would receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship—one of the most competitive scholarship programs in the country. Initially funded by a $1 billion grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the program provides a good-through-graduation scholarship to 1,000 minority students to attend the college of their choice without incurring financial debt.

For Caine and other students from Pine Ridge, where the annual per capita income is $7,887 and only 12 percent of the population has earned a college degree, becoming a Gates scholar is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I honestly never thought this would happen to me. It’s a huge blessing from Tȟuŋkášila,” said Caine. “I know my dad is watching over me right now, and so is my great-grandma. They helped me to be strong, and now I know anything is possible with hard work and determination.” (Tȟuŋkášila is a Lakota word meaning Creator or God). With his Gates scholarship, Caine plans to follow in his great-grandmother’s footsteps and pursue a degree in nursing.

Caine and his classmates worked for an entire semester on the Gates application, which includes eight personal essays. To earn the scholarship, applicants must maintain a GPA of 3.3 or higher and demonstrate a commitment to academic excellence, leadership and community service.

Red Cloud High School’s Principal Robin Johnson says the Gates scholarship is becoming more and more competitive with each passing year. In this round, over 56,000 students across the country applied, and only 1,000 were selected.

“To have five of our students earn the Gates is such a remarkable accomplishment, and we’re all so proud of their hard work. Each of them has persevered through some tremendous challenges in their young lives, but they’ve remained committed to education and to working toward their dreams. And with the support of the Gates, now they have every opportunity to achieve them.”

In addition to Caine, Red Cloud seniors Kristian Big Crow ‘14, Ryan Hussman ‘14, Genriel Ribitsch ’14 and Colton Sierra ’14 will be heading to college next year with the support of a Gates scholarship behind them. All five students are still absorbing the happy news while busily planning for their futures.

Eighteen-year old Ryan Hussman ‘14, who is considering attending the University of Colorado, has dreams of studying business and becoming a business owner on the Pine Ridge Reservation in order to expand economic opportunity here.

“I want to…come back and open a few businesses around the reservation, which is in dire need of new businesses. I have a lot of ideas,” said Ryan. “It’s a great accomplishment, to actually get a scholarship that is nationally recognized. For me, being one [from Red Cloud], it makes me feel I did accomplish a lot in my four years…all my hard work paid off.”

Nineteen-year old Kristian Big Crow ’14 had planned to join the Army to earn money for college. But now he says earning the Gates has opened other doors and possibilities for him.

“When I reflect on it, I find myself really grateful.”

To date, 64 Red Cloud Indian School students have earned the Gates scholarship—the highest number of any school of its size in the country. Each year the nonprofit, Jesuit institution works to provide 600 Lakota students with a high-quality, innovative education, from kindergarten through high school. Despite the many challenges facing youth on the Pine Ridge Reservation, from extreme poverty to high rates of depression and suicide, over 95 percent of Red Cloud graduates pursue higher education or post-secondary training.

According to Principal Johnson, those positive results stem from a combination of rigorous academics, a supportive, caring environment and programs that honor Lakota culture and identity.

“Coursework is important, but so is providing our students with a holistic education that supports their minds and their spirits. When given those resources, they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.”

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Red Cloud School’s website on April 25, 2014. Used with permission and all rights apply. American Indian Graduate Center Scholars (AIGCS) is the American Indian and Alaska Native representative to partner in the administration of the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program. For more information on the GMS Program, click here. 


AIGC E-Newsletter

enewsThe AIGC E-Newsletter is full of excellent information!  The current issue contains news on the AIGC Spring Magazine, AIGC Reception, AIGC Scholarships and more!

If you would like to receive the AIGC E-Newsletter, please register here.

If you missed the last E-Newsletter, you may click on any of the programs below to find out more:

To post a scholarship, internship, fellowship or program on the AIGC website, please contact

To place an advertisement in “The American Indian Graduate” magazine, please contact AIGC

College Horizons and Graduate Horizons Application Deadline

Coll HorGrad Hor

College Horizons and Graduate Horizons Application Deadline to apply is February 4, 2014. 

College Horizons is a college admissions workshop for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian high school students.  Each summer students work alongside 50 college admissions officers, college counselors, essay specialists and other educators in a six-day “crash course” on the college application and financial aid process. This year’s program will be hosted at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH from June 28-July 3, 2014.  Click here for more information on College Horizons.  

Graduate Horizons is a graduate admissions workshop for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and First Nation’s students interested in applying to graduate school or professional school. Candidates work alongside graduate admissions officers, professors and deans, industry professionals, and other educators in a four-day “crash course” on the graduate admissions process. Only one workshop is offered every 2 years, the program is 4 days long (only 72 hours of class time) and is limited to 75-100 students. This year’s program will be hosted at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY from July 11-14, 2014.   Click here for more information on Graduate Horizons.  

Choctaw SAP will provide financial assistance for any Choctaw student admitted to either program.  For more information on Choctaw SAP, click here.

The Gates Millennium Scholarship Online Application deadline is almost here!


GMS LOGO-CroppedOffical American Indian Graduate Scholars Logo


The Gates Millennium Scholarship Online Application deadline is almost here! The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program selects 1,000 talented students, each year, to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship for use at any college or university of their choice. Gates Millennium Scholars are provided with personal and professional development, through leadership programs, along with academic support throughout their college career.

The GMS Program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999, to provide outstanding African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education, in any discipline area of interest.

The American Indian Graduate Center Scholars (AIGCS) is the American Indian/Alaska Native partner for the GMS scholarship.

For more information and to complete an on-line application, click here. The deadline is Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Making the Grad: Get Involved With the American Indian Graduate Center!

Walt Lamar_webAIGC is proud to announce Walter Lamar, of Lamar Associates, as recently appointed member to the AIGC Board of Directors!

Following is an article that Mr. Lamar wrote about the American Indian Graduate Center, published in Indian Country Today, on October 30, 2013.

Making the Grad: Get Involved With the American Indian Graduate Center!

College education can be the difference between meandering into the world of work or roaring into a career to make a difference for family and the Native community. Both the little one who dreams of healing and the idealistic youth seeking justice can achieve their dreams only through graduate education. Non-profit organizations like the American Indian Graduate Center have helped thousands of young Natives realize these dreams over the years, but today they are struggling to meet the twin challenges of increased student enrollment and escalating costs.

We all feel the pinch of rising gas prices, food prices and other basic costs. But what young people wanting a life-changing career are feeling is more along the scale of being crushed by a boulder, as tuition for higher education has tripled, quadrupled, and quintupled, and continues to rise faster than prices in any other industry. Every year, families across America make this investment at the cost of crippling themselves with debt. The student loan burden today is higher than for auto loans or credit card debt. Some say it’s our next disastrous “bubble.”

In times of economic downturn, it’s common to turn to higher education to find better jobs or retrain for emerging industries. But the cost of a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree has escalated to the point that a four-year degree at a state university adds up to about $80,000 (in-state). For a private school, it can be close to that much every year. A master’s degree starts at $20,000. That “change-the-world” youth will have to come up with $100,000 for a law degree. The youngster hoping to treat relatives afflicted with diabetes will have to shell out about $150,000 for a medical degree.

While there’s no question that tribes need more educated and qualified professionals throughout our communities, sometimes there’s just no way for Native American students and their families to handle price tags like that, even if they were willing to assume the debt. And students saddled with huge student loan debt may find it difficult to accept lower-paying reservation jobs. The solution to bridging that gap has been around for nearly 45 years.

Back in the late 1960s tribes were looking for ways to get their voices heard in Washington and in their states. Robert Bennett, the first Director of the American Indian Law Center, a lawyer and member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin who had been the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in the Johnson Administration, recognized a need for more tribal members to get graduate educations so they could effectively implement change for our people. Together with John Rainier of Taos Pueblo, they planted the seeds of the “American Indian Scholarships” organization that eventually became the American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC).

AIGC has become an essential resource for students seeking higher education, using over 90% of its funds directly for student services and scholarships. A partnership with the Gates Millennium Scholars program through the United Negro College Fund has allowed AIGC through its counterpart AIGCS (Scholars), Inc., to support undergraduate studies as well. Inclusion of AIGC in the recent settlement from the Cobell trust fund has the potential to add the equivalent of $12 million to AIGC’s endowment. However, the much-appreciated addition is not immediately available; in fact, it may take up to 10 years to reach the intended amount.

Twelve million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to, though—at current prices, that would cover 600 master’s degrees or 80 medical degrees. Right now, 13 percent of Native Americans earn a college education, compared to 30% for the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 1.5 million of the approximate 5.2 million Native Americans are 18 and under. Even if only 13 percent of those kids pursue a college education, that’s 200,000 young Native Americans who will strive to earn an undergraduate degree without crippling themselves or their family with debt. Put that way, the Cobell settlement is clearly just a drop in the bucket. Even the $1.6 billion Gates Millennium Scholars program only expects to fund 1,000 hardworking students a year. Fifteen percent of those are American Indian or Alaska Native community members who apply through AIGC Scholars, which makes about 150 new awards annually.

Congressional reform of loan structuring, tuition caps, or subsidies could help this situation, but AIGC is not waiting for this Congress to get anything done. The organization is stepping up its fundraising appeals to tribes and individuals who want our children to fulfill their dreams, make a good living, and hopefully make their tribal communities a better place.

AIGC also holds fundraisers to support student scholarships, like an ongoing, online art sale ( that features unique pieces by master artists including Cliff Fragua, Helen Hardin, Margarete Bagshaw, John Nieto, and Bunky Echo Hawk. But the organization’s life blood—corporate sponsorships, employer matches, individual donations and planned giving—has all but dried up with the perception that the fund was rolling in dough, thanks to Bill Gates and the Cobell settlement.

Think about this, ask any Native American to name the top Native organizations and you will hear something like this: NCAI, USET, NIEA, NARF and NIGA. Why is it that AIGC is rarely or ever mentioned? An organization striving to educate our future leaders isn’t even mentioned as an afterthought.

AIGC Director Sam Deloria vigorously states, “We need to get Native America completely engaged in the business of educating our people and, when prominent Native organizations are named, AIGC should always be proudly included with our other influential organizations. Tribal and individual donations are needed now more than ever; the beneficial Gates and Cobell funding are positive steps in the right direction, but will not nearly fill the need. Remember how many of the revered old chiefs and leaders exhorted their people to get an education to help them adapt to the new conditions facing Native people. Get involved now!”

Native America Calling recently hosted the program coordinator for College Horizons, Christine Suina from Cochiti, to talk about what high school seniors need to know about going to college. When asked about how discouraged Native students can get about pursuing higher education, Suina encouraged families to “tell them to reach for their dreams. Apply to that dream school, apply to the local university…. You grow so much as a student. You learn so much about who you are and where you come from.” When asked if getting a higher education was worth it, she affirmed, “We need educated native people and native students to help our people continue to exist and excel in our world today.” The lively discussion brought up the fact that so many factors discouraged youth from higher education, including funding, that many give up before giving it an even chance.

AIGC doesn’t want to see aspiring young people selling their dreams short, either. Tribes with gaming and natural resource revenue have focused on investing within their communities. Perhaps it’s time to look beyond local borders and support all Natives in reaching for their dreams.

In the spirit of transparency, I have recently been appointed to the AIGC board of directors and have developed a far better understanding of the urgency to create a stronger better financed AIGC to take educating our people to a real level of sustainability, we have a long way to go before we are caught up with the rest of the world.

Walter Lamar, Blackfeet/Wichita, is a former FBI special agent, Deputy Director of BIA Law Enforcement and is currently President of Lamar Associates. Lamar Associates’ Indian Country Training Division offers culturally appropriate training for Indian country law enforcement and service professionals with both on-site and online courses.

Watch the video that Walter Lamar produced to go with the story, click here.  Feel free to share the story with others, here is the link.

NIGA Mid Year Conference

NIGA mid year

National Indian Gaming Association Mid-Year Conference

– October 29-30, 2013  Albuquerque, NM –

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Mid-Year Conference will be held at the Sandia Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, NM.

AIGC will have a booth at the conference, stop by to say hello!  We especially would like to meet any AIGC Alumni so please come to the booth to register with us.

Registration to the conference is only $350 to attend. This includes the Tribal Membership Meeting, the Awards Banquet, Training Seminars, Mini-expo, luncheon and more. The Golf tournament requires a separate registration fee. For more information, click here.

NIGA was established in 1985 and is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing organizations, tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the country. The common commitment and purpose of NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian peoples economically, socially and politically. NIGA operates as a clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development.


“The American Indian Graduate” Magazine is now available!

AIGC-Fall-2013-Cover-231x300The Fall issue of The American Indian Graduate magazine is now available, “American Indian Students Making Global Impact”!

If you are on the AIGC mailing list to receive a hard copy of the magazine, watch for it in the mail. If you are not on the AIGC mailing list and would like to receive a hard copy, an electronic copy, or if you have recently moved and need to update your contact information, please click here. You may also call 800-628-1920 or visit the website anytime, click on the home page, bottom left, “Subscribe to our Magazine”.

You may also visit the AIGC website and click on the green “Publications” bar to view the current issue or any past issues of The American Indian Graduate magazine, or click here.

Thank you to all of the advertisers who sponsor the AIGC magazine!

If you are interested in placing an advertisement in the next issue of The American Indian Graduate magazine, please contact AIGC at The deadline for the next issue, Spring 2014, is December 1, 2013.

The AIGC & Choctaw Scholarship Advisement Program (SAP) Fellowship!

Offical American Indian Graduate Center LogoSAP


AIGC is proud to announce the Choctaw SAP Fellowship Program, funded with a generous gift from the Choctaw Scholarship Advisement Program.

The AIGC Choctaw SAP Fellowship is a 2-year (up to $10,000/yr) graduate research fellowship available to one full-time, degree-seeking, tribally-enrolled graduate or professional level Choctaw student.

The deadline is August 30, 2013. Full details are posted in the AIGC Online Application System and a program description is attached here.

Jill Biden: Tribal colleges build opportunity on reservations

Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, delivered the commencement address at Navajo Technical College on May 17:As a community college teacher, I love seeing what a tremendous difference a community like the one I saw at Navajo Tech can make in the lives of its students.

The impressive class of graduates included veterans like Jerrilene Kenneth, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Army mechanic, before she became the first college graduate in her family with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. It also included Navajo Tech Student of the Year Sherwin Becenti, who dropped out of college more than ten years ago but returned to school in order to build a better life for his family and set a good example for his children. Dwight Carlston, who grew up with no running water or electricity, was also among the graduates. Dwight maintained a 3.8 grade point average, ran cross country, served as Student Senate President and was recently elected as the Student Congress president of all 38 tribal colleges.

The Class of 2013 also marked a key milestone for Navajo Tech itself as they celebrated their first student to graduate with a Baccalaureate Degree. Dody Begay received his Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology-Computer Science – a path many other students are now planning to follow.

Dr. Jill Biden walks with the procession of graduates of the Navajo Technical College Class of 2013, Navajo Tech President Elmer Guy, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and the Board of trustees on the Navajo Tech campus in Crownpoint, New Mexico. May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Dr. Jill Biden walks with the procession of graduates of the Navajo Technical College Class of 2013, Navajo Tech President Elmer Guy, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and the Board of trustees on the Navajo Tech campus in Crownpoint, New Mexico. May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

American Indian Graduate Center Announces Power of Scholarship Honorees

Albuquerque, NM – April 28, 2013 – The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC), a non-profit organization dedicated to building capacity for individuals and tribes through graduate education, announced six honorees who were recognized at the 5th Annual AIGC Reception, marking a special milestone in the organization’s strategic initiative – The Power of Scholarship – to address the growing need for scholarships among the American Indian and Alaska Native graduate and professional degree community.

Full Press Release…

SYS NYWP AmeriCorps*VISTA Position

425Southwest Youth Services Native Youth Wellness Program, in collaboration with Futures For Children, has an AmeriCorps*VISTA national service opportunity with Futures For Children. As a VISTA, the individual will do indirect service work, through Futures For Children, to promote educational success and empower American Indian Youth in communities throughout New Mexico, Arizona and Oklahoma. Position activities include: grant research, grant writing, program development, curriculum development and resource/database development. The position is a yearlong, full-time position.

For more information please go to:

DINÉ College Vacancy Posting

Chief Technology Officer, Accountant I, Accounting Technician I, Administrative Assistant, Museum Collections Student Intern, Student Resident Advisors, House Keeper, Director of Institution Effectiveness, Student Recruiter, Bookstore Manager, Maintenance Foreman, Professional Mathematics Tutor, Professional English/Writing Tutor

Accounting and Business Administration, Social Science, History, Social Work, Human Biology

If interested, please refer to the Dine College Employment Opportunities at

Galactic Unite Bytheway Scholarship and Virginia Rudnicki Scholarship

420Galactic Unite was created in partnership with Virgin Unite and Virgin Galactic from a desire by Virgin Galactic Future Astronauts to channel their energy and resources to achieve positive change in the world.

Bytheway Scholarship:

This program will award two $7,500 scholarships to first-year female college students pursuing four-year STEM degrees in the United States in September of 2013. The scholarship awards are renewable for four years.

Virginia Rudnicki Scholarship:
This scholarship will provide $7,500 to a first-year female college student pursuing a STEM degree at any accredited four-year college or university in the United States. The first Galactic Unite Virginia Rudnicki Scholarship will be awarded in September 2013 and is renewable for four years.

The application deadline for the 2013/2014 academic year is May 31, 2013.  For more information, please visit:

Two Worlds Community Foundation: The Navajo Challenge

The Two Worlds Community Foundation encourages broad dialogue between all community members in order to generate solutions that are equally practical, beautiful, and economically viable.

The Navajo Challenge is an essay competition open to Navajo students who are currently registered in any program, at any college or university and in good standing.  This is a design-based competition, but not limited to the design of structures, places or objects.

The deadline is May 31, 2013. For more information, please visit the website at:

Graduate Preparation Institute

424The University of Utah Graduate School Diversity Office announces the Graduate Preparation Institute (GPI). It is an intensive four-week preparation program specifically for college juniors from communities underrepresented in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The GPI program provides an excellent opportunity to learn the process of applying to graduate school. GPI students receive support with graduate school applications, personal statements, research shadowing experience, GRE seminar and graduate fellowship searches. The GPI students will stay on the University of Utah campus in Salt Lake City, UT, from June 24- July 19, 2013. The GPI program will provide room, board, travel and a $2,000 stipend.

The GPI application deadline is May 31, 2013. For more information, visit

Congratulations Graduates!

361AIGC would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all graduates 2013 who worked so hard to complete their degrees!

If you are an AIGC scholarship recipient or Gates Millennium Scholar, we would love to hear your story and receive your graduation photo!  Please contact AIGC at 1-800-628-1920, or email your photos to  We may use your story in a future publication.

Please be sure to go onto the website and complete an Alumni registration, so that we may keep in touch with you.

If you are an AIGC Alumni, and would like to reconnect, you may also go to the website and complete an Alumni registration.

Would you like to share your success story with others?  Let others know where you are now and what you are doing. Your story may be an inspiration to other students, let us know!

AIGC Opportunities for High School Seniors!

The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) is currently accepting applications for two (2) opportunities available to High School Seniors.

  • The All Native American High School Academic Team; deadline March 16, 2013
  • The Accenture Native American Scholarship Program; deadline April 27, 2013

AIGC will accept online application submissions: full Online Application Instructions are available at under the Scholarships tab in the teal bar.

To enter the Online Application System, students must click the APPLY NOW button found in various places on the AIGC website.  Full eligibility is listed under the Scholarships tab of the website.

All inquiries regarding these two programs should be directed to

The Reality of Who Higher Education is For -Native American Calling , Monday, April 23, 2012

Just what is the reality of higher education and whose needs it should be serving? It seems there are several views. Some tribal leaders are hoping the next generation will take on careers that will aid in nation building. Parents on the other hand often say they are hoping for their children to take on a job that makes them money so they can support them and their future families. But, who’s asking the actual student to find out what they want? How do the potential students’ views line up with what others want for them? Our guests is Sam Deloria (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) Director/American Indian Graduate Center.

Listen to the show…

Charles Trimble: American Indian Graduate Center memories

This article appeared in The American Indian Graduate Magazine, Spring 2012, pg 42.

It also appeared on on March 7, 2012

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Filed Under: Opinion
More on: aigccharles trimble

In the fall of 1969 I received a call from Taos Pueblo merchant and civic leader John Rainer, asking if I would serve on the Board of Directors of a new organization he was putting together, American Indian Scholarships, Inc. The organization was to receive funds from the Indian Education division of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and to seek and evaluate scholarship applications from American Indian students in graduate school, and to fund worthy applicants. I readily agreed to serve, for John Rainer was a good friend and the program seemed to be a great cause. At the time I was at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, helping to set up a program to help stem a high dropout rate among Indian students there. I was also working to put together the new American Indian Press Association and to raise funds for its administration. My first meeting of the AIS board was memorable for me, for I found myself in a virtual Who’s Who of Indian scholars and leaders. A few of them, besides John Rainer, I had met earlier – Lucy Covington, Ada Deer, and Leah Manning, three of the most outstanding women in Indian affairs, ever. I had also met Bob Bennett (Oneida), past Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and one of the incorporators of the new organization. The others were well known names in Indian affairs at the time, but I had not known them personally: Joe Sando of Jemez Pueblo, Dr. David Warren of Santa Clara Pueblo, and Overton James, long-time Governor of the Chickasaw nation of Oklahoma. Earlier that year I had worked with Lucy Covington in her campaign to unseat the Colville Tribe’s council, which favored the plans of the federal government to terminate them; so I knew her quite well, and had the greatest respect for her. Likewise with Ada Deer in her fight to get the termination of the Menominee Tribe reversed and her tribe restored to federal trust status. I first met Ada at a special activism workshop in New York City in mid-1956, and later spoke for her cause at a rally in Wisconsin. Leah Manning and her husband Arthur, both of the Shoshone-Paiute of Nevada, I had met at conventions of the National Congress of American Indians, and had learned about her outstanding work in the field of sociology, especially Child Welfare. A gentle, well- educated and elegant woman, she was also an expert on her tribal culture, and was a traditional singer and story-teller. Along with her daughter Tina and a grandchild, Leah perished in a house fire in 1979. Joe Sando I recall as a gentle person with a rich background in cultural research and preservation among the Pueblo peoples, including directorship of the Institute of Pueblo Study and Research at the Pueblo Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque. He authored several books on Pueblo history and cultures. Dave Warren I had always seen as sophisticated and scholarly, yet down to earth and friendly. He had risen in stature in the days when many young people were coming onto the scene in Indian affairs, many of them activists in the ranks of the National Indian Youth Council. I had heard much about him and was eager to meet him, and to this day I consider him one of the outstanding leaders in my experience in Indian affairs. He had served many years as Director of the Center for Cultural Studies and Research in the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, and later on the Board of the National Endowment for the Humanities and as Deputy Director of the National Museum of the American Indian. I had met Overton James at the National Congress of American Indians and had heard much about his leadership among the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma. He was well into his first term as Governor of the Chickasaw Nation when he came onto the Board of AIC, Inc., and would serve as Governor for another 18 years beyond. He served as president of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, president of the Choctaw-Chickasaw Confederation, chairman of the State Indian Affairs Commission, trustee of the National Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, the National Council on Indian Opportunity, and the National Congress of American Indians. Forty three years after it began, American Indian Scholarships, Inc. is now the American Indian Graduate Center, and over those years AIGC has disbursed more than 15,000 graduate fellowships with the support of the Bureau of Indian Education, corporate and foundation partnerships, and alumni and private donors. Sam Deloria, the current Director of AIGC, is a forward-thinking man but always is looking back with his hand extended, helping younger people on their way up. As Director of the American Indian Law Center, he helped launch several generations of Indian lawyers on their way through their studies to careers in protecting Indian rights, and advancing tribal governance. I have been privileged to have served with these great leaders who started the American Indian Graduate Center, and those who keep it alive and growing. They have enriched my life and inspired me over many years. Charles “Chuck” Trimble, was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and is a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation. He was principal founder of the American Indian Press Association in 1970, and served as Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians from 1972-1978. He is retired and lives in Omaha, NE. He can be contacted at and his website is

Faces of Native American Education in 2011

Indian Country Today Media Network featured a number of people in 2011 who deserve recognition for their contributions to Native American education.
Grayson Noley, Choctaw, is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma and feels that Native Americans are vastly underrepresented in higher education administration.
Read more…


AIGC teams with Coca Cola to Raise Scholarship Funds

AIGC selling NASCAR Coca Cola 600 Raffle Tickets

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC) and Coca Cola have teamed to raise scholarship funds for American Indian and Alaska Native students pursuing graduate and professional degrees. Only 2000 NASCAR Coca Cola 600 raffle tickets will be sold. Each raffle ticket is $25 and can be purchased on line at or by calling (505) 881-4584. The drawing will be Super Bowl Sunday, February 7, 2010.

Full Press Release.