A decorated University of Wyoming graduate and former Wind River Reservation resident has been hired by the college as the first Native American program adviser.
Reinette Redbird Tendore’s hiring comes eight months after the university announced the creation of the UW Native American Research and Cultural Center. The center was established after a push by university officials and Sen. Affie Ellis, a Navajo Nation member and UW graduate. The center officially opened earlier this semester.
Tendore’s mandate will be to recruit and retain native students as part of a broader university push to increase its diversity. As of fall 2016, less than 13 percent of UW students were minorities. The university in May hired its first chief diversity coordinator.
“It is important to acknowledge the culture and sense of community for Native American college students and to be able to recruit others from many different reservations,” Tendore said in a UW press release. “I would hope that my own personal story of being enrolled, coming from the Wind River reservation and graduating with both of my degrees at UW would encourage and inspire other students to work toward their higher education goals, also here at UW.”
Tendore graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in 2009 in elementary education and a master’s in 2017 in social work. She was named student of the year in the Division of Social Work in 2017 and earned the Dr. Willena Stanford Commitment to Diversity award.
Her parents are enrolled members of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribe, according to the release.
Tendore will work with programs such as American Indian Studies, the High Plains American Indian Research Institute and the student-run Keepers of the Fire group. She will report to the dean of students.
In the press release, Tendore praised the new Native American center, calling it “crucial to the success of Native students because it provides a safe space for them.”
The university also announced the opening of two scholarships for Native students or those with strong ties to the Wind River Reservation.
The Chief Washakie Memorial application deadline is March 1. The scholarships will be varying amounts depending on funds and applicants’ qualifications, according to a university press release.
Applications will be evaluated based on scholastic ability; school, community and tribal involvement; the potential to the reservation upon graduation; and financial circumstances, according to the release.
The Northern Arapaho Scholarship Committee is also accepting applications from full-time students through March 2 for the next academic year. Applicants must be enrolled members of the tribe.
Applicants should be juniors or seniors next year. They must also describe their involvement in native activities and how they plan to use their education to benefit the Northern Arapaho tribe.
The scholarship covers tuition and fees and a book allowance. Five to six awards are given each year.
Both scholarships are available to students seeking a graduate or bachelor’s degree, or a certificate. The Washakie award is available to part-time and distance learners.