Havre Daily News
A record number of graduates were honored with degrees Friday at Stone Child College under a blue canopy of sky on the lush green lawn in front of Kennewash Hall.
When Stone Child's graduation ceremony commenced Friday morning, keynote speaker Bob Murie, bilingual and bicultural instructor at SCC said the Creator was smiling.
“On a wonderful day - clear, warm, like today - it is a new year,” Murie said, referring to the traditional new year of the Plains tribes. “Happy New Year, and I wish you many more.”
Murie also said this is the season for life to bloom and blossom. “And I hope your wishes and desires bloom in that way.”
After a round of “good mornings” to elders, family members, various members of the college community, and the 37-member class of 2006, Murie said, “Hearty handshakes to all.”
“I feel good in my heart that this day has come for you graduates,” he said. “With your dedication and persistence you have come through to this day.”
Murie, who also is employed by the Rocky Boy School District in his bilingual and bicultural capacities, puts on workshops for community members and is co-director of the Chippewa Cree Tribal History Project, urged the graduates to continue with their educations.
Murie said Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation exists because tribal ancestors had preserved their languages and ceremonies.
“I often wonder what this country
would be like today,” Murie said, “if when the white men got here they saw no insane asylums, no places of incarceration, no hospitals, if they had sat down and talked with our ancestors about how they do things, maybe we would still have no hospitals today.
“(Indian ancestors) had no government to support them. What they had was God-given,” Murie added, reminding the audience that their ancestors were strong, tough and resourceful. “We cannot go back to thetipis, there are no buffalo - those days are gone, but that spirit goes on.”
He admonished the students to go on with their educations as far as they can.
“Go out and seek education so you can come back to our reservation, our land here, and be useful,” he said.
The alternative to education, he said, was best described by Chief Plenty Coup of the Crow:
“With education, you'll be the white man's equal; without it, you will be his slave.”
He also quoted his grandfather, the late tribal holy man Arthur Raining Bird: “Take the best of both worlds (Indian and white).”
Murie also expressed his wish that SCC eventually grow to the point that it can offer master's and doctorate programs.
Valedictorian Daryl “Buck” Wright Sr., in his valedictory speech echoed Murie's wish and added perspectives of his return to college.
“You may not believe this, but when I first walked into these halls at 51, I was a scared man,” Wright said. “ When you first go to college, you say, how am I going to pay for this?”
He said many agencies helped with his expenses and he was grateful.
Wright, who was named SCC student of the year, was notified shortly before graduation that the National Indian College Fund recognized his status as student of the year with a $1,000 donation.
“And I really like that,” he said, bringing laughs from the audience.
They also agreed graduation was about the graduates.
“The graduates are the survivors like their ancestors,” Wright said, “the cream of the crop in many ways. Congratulations on your success.”
Here is the Stone Child College class of 2006.
Honorary degrees were awarded to tribal elders John Gilbert Meyers and Dorothy Small.
Members of the Stone Child College graduating class of 2006 are:
Associates of science -
Business: Lynden John Billy (salutatorian), Sheryl Crasco, Tiffany Galbavy, Priscilla Koop, Cassidy Parisian and Clayton Soosay;
Computer science, information systems: Jeffrey S. Henry and Joshua Seaton;
Computer science, Microsoft applications option: Cory Lodge Pole.
Associates of arts -
General studies, general science option: Lynette Cantrell;
General studies, liberal arts option: Rochelle Booker, Cora Chandler, Darlene Johnson and Daryl Wright Sr.;
General studies, English concentration option: Ryan LaMere;
Natural resources: J'Shonn Nicole McGuire;
Human services, addition studies: Kathy Casares;
Human services, Native communities: Kathy Casares;
Teacher education, early childhood concentration: Dorcus Big Knife;
Teacher education, elementary education concentration: Kayla Ameline, Darla Bacon, Sandy Belcourt, Clintanna Colliflower, Wade Colliflower, Frances Fisher, Tricia Gardipee, Louisa Hines-Stump, Margaret Jarvey, Michelle LaMere, Cindy Lawrence, Edward Arnold Lujan, Linda Luna, Roland Myers, Harriet St. Pierre, Florencine Stump and Daryl Wright Sr.
One year -
Office technology certificate: Gloria Parisian;
GED completion: Loren Bacon and Brian Jones.