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
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
Dakota Language Instructor
University of Minnesota
Director, Department of Indian Work
Research Specialist under the Tribal Education Department
Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate College.
Government Relations Specialist
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Director of Education, White Earth Reservation Tribal Council
White Earth, Minnesota
Respected elder of the White Earth Community
2016 graduate of White Earth Community College at age 76
Director, American Indian Student Services