Ernie L. Stevens, who is currently serving his eighth two-year term as chairman and national spokesperson for the National Indian Gaming Association, has joined the American Indian Graduate Center Board of Directors.
“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, American Indian Graduate Center Board President.
“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,” said Joan Currier, AIGC’s interim executive director.
“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 non-traditional 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,” Stevens said.
“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 American Indian Graduate Center 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, D.C., 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).
Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, AIGC has been providing educational support to American Indian and Alaska Native students through scholarships since 1969.
Information contained in this post came to ICMN from an AIGC press release.