Char-Koosta News

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Indian educators honored at banquet

By Alyssa Kelly
Char-Koosta News

The Salish and Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee nominated Andrew Woodcock to receive the Cultural Preservation Award. Woodcock followed in his father Lomah’s footsteps and became an avid outdoorsman. Today Woodcock creates traditional art inspired by nature and the Salish culture. (Alyssa Kelly photo) The Salish and Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee nominated Andrew Woodcock to receive the Cultural Preservation Award. Woodcock followed in his father Lomah’s footsteps and became an avid outdoorsman. Today Woodcock creates traditional art inspired by nature and the Salish culture. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

PABLO – Whether it’s formal training in the classroom or traditional knowledge passed through generations, education plays a key role in shaping the future of society. In recognition of education milestones for over 100 Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal (CSKT) members, the Tribal Education Department hosted its annual graduate celebration banquet.

Tribal Council Representative Carole Lankford commended the department for supporting CSKT members in their educational pursuits. “Every tribal member is the owner of this reservation. It’s important that we educate our own people and they share it here at home,” she said.

The Tribal Education Department selected Joyce Silverthorne to receive the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Silverthorne has dedicated the past 40 years to her career in education. Most recently she served as the Director of the Office of Indian Education in Washington, D.C. (Alyssa Kelly photo) The Tribal Education Department selected Joyce Silverthorne to receive the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. Silverthorne has dedicated the past 40 years to her career in education. Most recently she served as the Director of the Office of Indian Education in Washington, D.C. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

An example of someone who shared her education at home, Joyce Silverthorne (CSKT/Kickapoo) received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award. “To be honored for your work is wonderful. But to be honored at home is truly a gift,” she said.

Silverthorne has had a 40-year career in education, which included serving 10-years as the Director of the CSKT Tribal Education Department, and serving the past five-years as Director of the Office of Indian Education in Washington, D.C. “Serving on a national level for Indian education was difficult. I think it’s important that we not only maintain what we’ve created but also continue to progress,” she said.

Aside from her career contributions, Silverthorne was recognized for overcoming trials in order to succeed. Attending a predominately non-Indian high school in St. Ignatius, like many Native American students at the time, Silverthorne dropped out of high school her senior year.

The Kootenai Culture Committee nominated the late Josheph Antiste to receive the Cultural Preservation Award. Antiste was a fluent speaker of the Kootenai language and spent his life sharing his traditional knowledge of Kootenai culture, songs, and stories.  Antiste’s family was on hand to accept the award.  (Alyssa Kelly photo) The Kootenai Culture Committee nominated the late Josheph Antiste to receive the Cultural Preservation Award. Antiste was a fluent speaker of the Kootenai language and spent his life sharing his traditional knowledge of Kootenai culture, songs, and stories. Antiste’s family was on hand to accept the award. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Pressured to support her three children as a single mother, Silverthorne returned to the University of Montana earning her General Equivalency Diploma, Bachelor of Arts degree in business education, and her Masters degree in education.

Acting Director of Tribal Education Miranda Burland said recognition is overdue. “Joyce is truly an inspiration. She has contributed so much to education throughout her lifetime and I personally have learned so much from her over the years at Tribal Education. I think it is so inspiring that she herself has overcome a lot of issues that our tribal students face,” she said.

Aside from the Lifetime Achievement Award, the banquet also featured the Cultural Preservation Awards, which are selected through the Kootenai Culture Committee (KCC) and Salish and Pend d’Oreille Culture Committee (SPCC). The award highlights individuals who have contributed to the preservation of traditional knowledge.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal graduates (8-College) received incentives for their accomplishments. The group received custom bags and a complimentary ride on “The Shadow” from the KwaTaqNuk Resort. (Alyssa Kelly photo) Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribal graduates (8-College) received incentives for their accomplishments. The group received custom bags and a complimentary ride on “The Shadow” from the KwaTaqNuk Resort. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Kootenai Language Instructor Francis Auld introduced the KCC Preservation award winner the late Joseph Antiste, a full-blood Kootenai man who was a fluent speaker in the Kootenai language. Auld said Antiste played a key role in sharing his traditional knowledge, not only in the Kootenai language but culture, songs, and historical accounts.

Auld recalled a story Antiste had shared of a lesson he’d received from attending a Sun Dance ceremony. “Joe said that a man told him he wanted him to do something for him,” Auld said. “He asked him to sit on his knees and watch over the pipes, which are important for our traditional method of prayer. He sat there for three or four nights and was hungry and thirsty. He said he thought the man was picking on him. He said as he grew older he had pure white hair and that was because the spirit blessed him with a long life.”

Kootenai language instructor Francis Ault introduced the late Joseph Antiste.  (Alyssa Kelly photo) Kootenai language instructor Francis Ault introduced the late Joseph Antiste. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Antiste died in 1989 at the age of 94. His son Thomas Antiste and family were present to accept his award. “My dad was an all around good person,” Thomas said. “He didn’t have much of a formal education but he had so much to share about who we are. He was a hard worker.”

Tribal Health Department Health and Wellness Coordinator Willie Stevens introduced the SPCC Preservation award winner, his uncle Andrew Woodcock. Woodcock followed his father Lomah’s footsteps as an avid outdoorsmen–hunting, gathering, fishing, tree planting, and being a horseman.

Stevens shared lessons his uncle taught him. “He taught me about hunting and how to treat the animals with respect,” Stevens said. “He would bring us into the Mission Mountains and teach us about camping and how to go into the woods in a respectful way. That’s important because nowadays there are a lot of people who are lost.”

Over 200 people attended the Tribal Education Department annual graduation celebration banquet. Tribally owned caterer “The Old World Deli” provided the barbecue meal. (Alyssa Kelly photo) Over 200 people attended the Tribal Education Department annual graduation celebration banquet. Tribally owned caterer “The Old World Deli” provided the barbecue meal. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Aside from being an outdoorsman, Woodcock is an artist who creates traditional crafts such as bows, arrows, bustles, and outfits. He also creates paintings inspired by nature and the Salish culture. Woodcock has spent the past 50 years married to his wife Rita and both serve on the SPCC elder’s committee.  “I’m thankful for the support of my friends and family from one side of the reservation to the other,” he said.

In addition to the awards, (8-college) graduates received gifts and complimentary rides on “The Shadow” from the KwaTaqNuk Resort. “I have faith in you young people,” Auld said. “Education is important but so is your life as a (Native) person.”

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