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American Indian Advisory Committee

  • AIAC participants
  • AIAC participants

The American Indian Advisory Committee (AIAC) is currently comprised of 13 members. Nine of these members represent non-University of Minnesota, Morris communities and entities, and four are Morris campus American Indian students. The community members represent American Indian offices; tribal offices and communities; and/or secondary, elementary, and college institutions. This committee usually meets two–three times during the academic year and serves in an advisory capacity to the campus administration in regard to American Indian student educational opportunities. Members of this committee meet with administrators, faculty, students, and other professional staff in assessing the needs of the American Indian students at Morris.

This committee discusses and addresses the social, cultural, academic, and financial needs of the Indian students. For example, the committee has been instrumental in approving several Salt Springs Awards, which are given out on University of Minnesota, Morris Honors Day. They have also approved funding for the initiation of Ojibwe and Dakota language classes; the purchase of a computer for Indian student use; the giving of supplemental money for the Circle of Nations Indian Association’s annual powwow, among other things. Continued emphasis on the hiring of American Indian faculty and ensuring that the University honors its historical commitment to American Indian students are just some of the committee’s other areas of involvement.

American Indian Advisory Committee

Marisa Anywaush

Vice Chairwoman of the Upper Sioux Community

Merlin Williams, Sr., AIAC Chair

Long time educator of American Indian Education Program at the Elk River School District

Joe Bendickson

Dakota Language Instructor
University of Minnesota

Kathy Denman-Wilke

Director, Department of Indian Work 

Heather Larsen

Research Specialist under the Tribal Education Department
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate College.

Leslie Harper

Government Relations Specialist
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe

Joan LaVoy

Director of Education, White Earth Reservation Tribal Council
White Earth, Minnesota

Jeanne McDougall

Respected elder of the White Earth Community
2016 graduate of White Earth Community College at age 76

Jennifer Simon

Director, American Indian Student Services
Augsburg College