Five finalists announced for AIRC director

Bemidji State University has announced five finalists for directorship of its American Indian Resource Center.

The finalists, in alphabetical order by last name, are:
• Vikki Howard, Indian health advocate at Sanford Health Bemidji;
• Terry Janis, program officer for the Indian Land Tenure Foundation in Little Canada, Minn.;
• Rochelle Johnson, school administrator at Pine Point Elementary School at the White Earth Nation in Ponsford, Minn.;
• Michael Price, most recently academic dean for White Earth Tribal and Community College in Mahnomen, Minn.; and
• Dr. Anton Treuer, professor of languages and ethnic studies at Bemidji State University.

All five candidates have completed on-campus interviews.

Vikki Howard is a member of the Leech Lake Ojibwe Nation.  A member of the Bear clan, Howard has been the Indian health advocate at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center since 2009 and also oversees patient relations with the center’s Quality Care Services Department. In her role, she builds cultural awareness among the center’s personnel and staff, and also serves as an advocate for Sanford resources to American Indian families in the northern Minnesota region.

Prior to her return to Bemidji for her current position at Sanford Health, Howard was community relations coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Department of American Indian Studies. Her other work experience includes family and tribal education as education director for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

Howard is a Bemidji State alumnus with bachelor’s degrees in American Indian studies and social studies. She has a master’s degree in education from the University of St. Thomas and is pursuing a doctorate in education at the University of Minnesota Leadership Academy.

Terry L. Janis, a member of the Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation, has been a program officer at the Indian Land Tenure Foundation since 2004. In that role, he develops, monitors and evaluates the foundation’s grant-making programs and collaborates with its partner organizations on a variety of special initiatives.

Before joining the foundation, Janis worked for the Northwest Area Foundation, helping to design and implement its rural leadership program. He has worked on American Indian and international indigenous education and human rights issues, combining education and law to advocate for indigenous rights. He has been staff attorney and director of program development at the Indian Law Resource Center; associate professor and director of the Institute for Native Americans at Northern Arizona University; and supervising attorney and assistant director for the Office of Indian Programs at the University of Arizona.

He sits on the board of the Two Feathers Endowment of The Saint Paul Foundation and is a member of Native Americans in Philanthropy, the National Indian Education Association and the National Congress of American Indians.

Janis has a bachelor’s degree from Macalester College, a master’s in education from Harvard University and a juris doctorate from the University of Arizona. He is a member of the State Bar Association of Arizona.

Rochelle Johnson is an administrator for Pine Point Elementary School in Ponsford, Minn., on the White Earth Nation. She started her career teaching in the Red Lake and Bemidji area schools, and later entered administration as principal and superintendent at the Bug O Nay Ge Shig School in Bena, Minn. She remained there until 2008, when she left to teach online graduate courses through Performance Learning Systems. She also spent time on the White Earth Reservation supervising student teachers on field experiences from the University of Minnesota, Duluth.

Johnson, who resides in Bemidji, is a Bemidji State alum with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in Indian studies. She also holds a master’s degree from Bemidji State in educational administration, and has a specialist degree in educational leadership from St. Cloud State.

Michael Price, a member of Wikwemikong First Nations in Ontario, Canada, has most recently served as academic dean for the White Earth Tribal and Community College in Mahnomen, Minn., where he provided overall leadership and management of academics. He also directed the NASA Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the college.

Price was the founding president for the Red Lake Nation College in Red Lake, Minn. His other work experiences include faculty chair for the Department of Science and Mathematics at Leech Lake Tribal College in Leech Lake, Minn., and director of college programs at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society in Boulder, Colo.

Price has recently been published in “Anishinaabeg Today” and authored a chapter in the book “Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science: The Integration of Native Knowledge in Math and Science at Tribally-Controlled Colleges and Universities.” He is a member of several professional societies, served on a number of boards and committees and has been involved in fundraising efforts for several projects and grants.

Price has an associate’s degree in natural science from St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee, Okla., a bachelor’s degree in biology from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Montana.

Dr. Anton Treuer is a professor of languages and ethnic studies at Bemidji State University. He is editor of the Oshkaabewis Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language and author of nine books. His book, “Ojibwe in Minnesota” was named Minnesota’s Best Read by the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in 2010, and Treuer edited “Awesiinyensag: Dibaajimowinan Ji-gikinoo’amaageng,” a children’s book written in Ojibwe that was named Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011. This summer, he won the Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History for his book, “The Assassination of Hole in the Day.” In all, he has written or edited nine books.

Treuer is on the boards for the White Earth Land Recovery Project, the Sanford/MeritCare health system and the Minnesota State Arts Board. He has received more than 40 awards and fellowships from organizations including the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

Treuer has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and holds master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Minnesota.