Marlin Spoonhunter is president of the Wind River Tribal College. Realizing that it was a cultural shock for many native students to attend colleges away from the reservation, tribal colleges started to form around 1972 in the United States to meet the needs of their community.
Spoonhunter said that native students who go to a community college are more likely to continue their education to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“Education is a good thing for our native people,” he said. Spoonhunter, who was a first generation student, was taught at a young age the importance of education by his uncle. As Spoonhunter got older the academic goal got higher. From being told to earn a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree to a master’s degree; his uncle continued to raise the bar on Spoonhunter’s education.
“I was reminded that I needed that education so we need to remind our students,” Spoonhunter said. After Spoonhunter completed his degree he knew he needed to come back to help his people.”
“Education will help our people; children, grandchildren for our future, even our adults,” Marlin Spoonhunter, Arapahoe Tribal Leader