April 12: Higher Education for Native Americans

–submitted by Janet Piraino

UW System Regent Ed Manydeeds spoke to Rotarians on April 12th about the importance of education for Native Americans.  He attended one of Wisconsin’s notorious boarding schools for Native Americans, which he said involved more fighting and bullying than learning. The experience soured him on education, and he vowed never to attend school again. But, after graduating from Ashland High School despite being a “terrible student,” educators at UW-Green Bay and UW-Superior taught him how to study and ask for help.  He went on to get a law degree from UW-Madison and has practiced law for 45 years. 

Manydeeds was shocked to learn there were only 576 Native students in the UW System in 2002  – only 0.4% of the statewide student population.  But an agreement UW System signed with Wisconsin tribes in 2020 gives him hope that recruitment and retention of Native students will improve.  He encouraged Rotarians to mentor Native students just as he was mentored in college.  

If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-Y2m-gPQz4&t=4s.

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