Institute of American Indian Arts won several top honors
“It’s the first time we’ve won the Knowledge Bowl,” said Nocona Burgess, student activities coordinator and student government adviser. The Bowl is the highest honor in the competition, testing students’ knowledge of Native American history from textbooks and film. “We’ve always been fourth, fifth or sixth. Last year we lost by one point in the championship, and this year we won, beating Diné College by two. They are kind of the powerhouse, so beating them was a big deal.”
More than 1,200 students from 36 tribal colleges across the nation participated in the 31st annual AIHEC Student Conference March 24-27 hosted by Oglala Lakota, Sinte Gleska University, Sitting Bull and Sisseton Wahpeton colleges in South Dakota. AIHEC was created in 1971 to help provide leadership and influence public policy on American Indian higher education issues through advocacy, research and program initiatives for the nation’s tribal colleges and universities.
In addition to taking the highest honor, IAIA placed in the top three of several categories, including film, fiction, poetry, speech and web design. Other top finishing colleges include Oglala-Lakota with 17 awards, Salish Kootenai with 13 and Navajo Tech with nine. IAIA, a land grant school that has started an agriculture program, also placed first in the traditional plants category, which required participants to say the plant names in Lakota. The institute also took first in handgame, beating out defending champions Fort Berthold Community College.
IAIA has racked up several awards in the past few years after the Knowledge Bowl competition became a class for credit. Students who want to compete in the bowl sign up for the class and receive a booklist from AIHEC and study the material during Christmas break.
Teams from IAIA have done so well over the past few years that “someone told me they should give an award to whoever can beat IAIA at anything,” Burgess said.
A list of categories and winners can be found at: http://www.olc.edu/local_links/aihec/docs/aihec_2012_winners.pdf. For videos from the conference, go to http://k.olc.edu/Events.html.