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2017-01-11 / Education

Ernie L. Stevens Jr. joins Native Scholarship Organization board


ERNIE L. STEVENS JR. ERNIE L. STEVENS JR. ALBUQUERQUE –– The American Indian Graduate Center (AIGC), a non-profit organization embarking on a 50-year legacy of scholarships to Indian students welcomes Ernie L. Stevens Jr. (Oneida Nation) to the Board of Directors.

Mr. Stevens is currently serving his eighth two-year term as the Chairman and national spokesperson for the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). “Mr. Stevens has a phenomenal record of advocating for sovereignty and economic development and a huge proponent of education for building tribal capacity. He’s a respected, results driven tribal leader and we are excited to have him on the Board,” said Rose Graham (Diné) AIGC Board President.

Joan Currier, AIGC’s Interim Executive

Director stated, “In order for AIGC to build the most effective program to support up-and-coming leaders in Indian Country, we must involve the nation’s current leaders in Indian Country. We are delighted Mr. Stevens will formally continue his ongoing support of the organization.”

Stevens said, "The path to educational opportunities has always been a professional priority of mine. Early in my career I was on a team that challenged the educational system to be more inclusive of the nontraditional student. Even though I worked in a traditional environment as a coach, teacher and recruitment specialist, we were trying to find a way to better serve Indian Country.

A lot has changed over the years. Technological advances and online resources have made educational opportunities more available. Regardless of this success, continued growth utilizing these resources remains a priority. When you put scholarship opportunities, like those established by AIGC and determined Native educators together it is sure to produce significant and positive impact. Indian education has come a long way, and AIGC has played a strong role in that growth and I am excited to join this team.

My commitment to serve on the AIGC board is driven by the teachings of my father, Ernie Stevens, Sr., who accomplished a lot of great work throughout this country. Whether it was during his tenure in Washington, DC, his work throughout Indian Country, or his legacy right here at home in Oneida, education and business development was always his priority. Ernie, Sr. was on the ground floor of this organization making higher education for Indian students attainable through scholarships and student services. Advancing the educational and business opportunities for Indian country was always his passion, and I am excited to carry on that legacy."

Stevens will join a diverse, experienced and dedicated Board. Rose Graham (Diné) is Board President, Joel M. Frank, Sr. (Seminole Tribe of Florida) is Vice President and Steve Stallings (Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians) is Secretary-Treasurer. Board Members at Large are Stacy Leeds (Cherokee), Danna Jackson (Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes), Walter Lamar (Blackfeet, Wichita), Dana Arviso (Diné), and Holly Cook Macarro (Red Lake Band of Ojibwe).

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