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Events and Speakers

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The Sweetgrass Society Pow-Wow
Dr. Donald Pepion
Indigenous Education Lecture Series

The Little River Institute on the campus of MSU-Northern was pleased to host

Dr. Donald Pepion, EDd on March 22, 2016 to share his extensive knowledge,

experience and research in the field of American Indian student retention. 

Dr. Pepion is a College Professor at New Mexico State University where he

teaches Native American Studies courses in the Anthropology Department. 

The presentation is the first in a series of quarterly lectures hosted by the

Little River Institute featuring recognized experts in the area of Indigenous



Dr. Pepion received both his doctoral and master degrees from Montana State

University in adult, community, and higher education in addition to a bachelor’s

degree in Business Management/Sociology from New Mexico State University. 

His doctoral dissertation is entitled “Blackfoot Ceremony:  A Qualitative Study

of Learning.”


Dr. Pepion’s presentations will include strategies for implementing

strength-based advising, and Indigenous worldviews into institutional practices,

in addition to longitudinal data and findings from his own American Indian

student retention research at New Mexico State University. 


In addition to teaching courses in Native American Studies through the Department of Anthropology at NMSU, Dr. Pepion has an extensive background in education, health, and tribal government including an appointment as President of Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Montana. As an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Indian Nation, he also holds the distinction of being a member of the Brave Dog, Rough Riders, Medicine Pipe, and Beaver Bundle societies. The elders of the Blackfeet Nation have also honored and recognized him as a leader in the War-bonnet transfer ceremony.


Dr. Pepion’s Current research includes a participatory action research study on Native American student cultural sources of strength and how they relate to retention at New Mexico State University. The Great Plains Quarterly recently published his ethnographic study which chronicles the plight of a Native American family in a 1939 farm project. 


Mike Jetty is an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation and a Turtle

Mountain Chippewa descendant.  Mike is currently working at the Montana

Office of Public Instruction as an Indian Education Specialist. He has been

working with Indian Education issues for the past 24 years and has teaching

experience at both the K-12 and University level. He has a B.S. in History

Education, a Master’s in School Administration and an Education Specialist

Degree. In the last 11 years, he has provided over 200 Indian Education

workshops for over 3500 educators.

Mike Jetty & Stephen Morsette

Julie Cajune, Salish educator and citizen of the Confederated Salish and

Kootenai Tribes, has served in the public school system as both a teacher and

an administrator. She transitioned from her work in public education to a

position for the CSKT Tribal Education Department as a curriculum specialist. 

Much of Julie’s career has been devoted to the development of culturally-

responsive instructional materials. She has produced books, films, plays, and

curricula with a focus on American Indian history. Julie’s commitment to the

inclusion of Native history in mainstream classrooms has brought her local

and national recognition. She is the recipient of the Milken National Educator

Award, the Walt Brown Montana Human Rights Award, the Montana Governor’s

Humanities Award, and both the Distinguished Alumni and the Lifetime

Achievement Awards from the University of Montana Western.


Julie Cajune
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