By Tim Leeds
ROCKY BOY -- Students at Stone Child College formed a new club in December to promote cultural awareness on the campus, club member Penny Denny said.
The club is named Students for Cultural Awareness, Denny said. She said the goal of the club is to promote awareness of tribal customs among the students at the college.
Denny said one of the main goals of the club is to advocate drug- and alcohol-free living for the students. She said all members of the club are drug- and alcohol-free, and they try to provide positive role models for the youth of the tribe. She said they show that use of these substances is not part of their historical culture.
Denny said when the club was formed, it consisted of three members and their advisor, Mary Top Sky, the registrar at the college. Since the start of the new semester, she said, the membership has grown to 12 students. She said tribal elder Nadi Morsette also advises the club.
Denny said most of the members of the club come from families that are strong in the tribe's culture. She said they're ahead of the game. Their goal is to help those who are not as well-taught in their culture, she said.
The main short-term goal for the club is having activities to raise funds to send members to the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) conference in Albuquerque, N.M. the first week of April. She said various clubs at the college will also be asking local businesses to sponsor them to send members to the conference.
Denny said the AIHEC conference is a week-long event consisting of tribal colleges across the nation. She said Hawaii might be represented this year, and the conference might become international with the participation of a tribal college from New Zealand.
The cultural awareness club plans to represent Stone Child College in cultural events, Denny said. She said other clubs will also represent the college in various other events, such as an academic challenge bowl, traditional stick game competitions, and dancing.
Denny said the long-term goal for the club is simply to become a permanent organization at the college. She said they would like to set up monthly cultural events, have tribal elders come in to advise the club, help plan events and continue to represent the college at AIHEC events and to participate in cultural events at other tribal colleges.