Wɔɔhéíh Niiʔɔ́ɔ́h Níitɔ́ɔ́nʔɔ!
On behalf of Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC), I welcome you on this Indigenous educational trail. I wish for you strength and patience as you travel this road. I have had much to learn since becoming the President of ANC in August of 2020. Even after over 20 years of employment at ANC, mostly as Director of American Indian Studies and Dean of Academics, I continue to learn and grow.
In November of 1983, ANC was founded upon the Lifeways of the Aaniinen and Nakoda Nations, 100 years after our people sought out the last of the buffalo. Arriving to ANC’s foundation was difficult, as at one time the identities of the Aaniiih and Nakoda were forbidden. When my great-grandfather Al Chandler, Aaniiih, had to send my father off to an Indian boarding school, he told him, “Grandson, work hard, learn English and acquire an education, it is the only way an Indian can be successful from now on into the future. Most importantly, be prosperous and be generous.” At that time, it was forbidden to speak the Aaniiih language, but my father inherently used the Aaniiih Lifeways of prosperity and generosity to become successful. Today, we are not under control to be discouraged to exercise our Indigenous ways and languages. Thus, the knowledge of our ancestors continues to guide us through contemporary society to help us become successful human beings.
ANC’s measure of achievement lies within our students’ success to reach their educational goals. We have a great team that continues to teach, share and create pathways for student success. I encourage you to reach out to any of us to learn about our programs and to take advantage of the several internship and scholarship opportunities that ANC has to offer.
As we enter our 40th year, we will be celebrating the first of many graduates of our newly created Aaniiih and Nakoda Language Degree Program, in addition to all of our excellent programs. I look forward to witnessing you walk across our stage and receive your ANC diploma. Until then, good luck, work hard and have patience through the challenges that you may encounter. An educational journey can be difficult, but it is good. We are here to help you create and walk your own path of lifelong success. My deepest wish is for you to become, as my father relayed to me from his grandfather, “prosperous and generous.”
Sean Chandler, Ed.D.
President, Aaniiih Nakoda College