Wilkie and Villebrun are sisters who both received their undergraduate degrees from Bemidji State University, work in educational leadership and are proud members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians from Belcourt, N.D. They grew up on multiple reservations throughout North and South Dakota.
Dr. Villebrun is the superintendent and principal for the Floodwood School District in Floodwood, Minn. Dr. Wilkie is an associate professor of nursing at BSU and the director of the Niganawenimaanaanig, an Ojibwe word meaning “we take care of them,” Program. This Program provides American Indian and indigenous students with the holistic support needed to increase their likelihood of graduating from the BSU Nursing Program.
Bemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding.