The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Chickasaw head educates

By Natalie Phetsamone/reporter

A Native American leader spoke to NE students about tribal governments and the American Indian community Nov. 18.

“I would like to educate the broader community about tribal governments and what they do,” said Jefferson Keel, lieutenant governor of the Chickasaw Nation and president of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington.

Poor school systems, poverty and a lack of higher education are major problems facing the Native American community, but tribal leaders are working together to change this, Keel said.

“I believe education is the key that unlocks the shackles that bind us to hopelessness and poverty,” he said. “As tribal leaders, it is our responsibility to make sure our children have these tools.”

The Chickasaw Nation is opening businesses — banks, fabrication plants, casinos and chocolate factories — to help finance education, Keel said.

They are already seeing results.

Many young people are not only graduating from college but are earning advanced degrees in law, medicine and science, Keel said.

At the end of his speech, Keel answered several questions posed by students.

“What aspect of Native American culture could be applied for the betterment of society as a whole?” one student asked.

“Chickasaw people learn to accept one another as individuals and consider everyone as part of the family,” he said. “If we apply these family values as a whole to the community system, we can help one another.”

Students were also treated to a performance of Native American song and dance before and after the speech.

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