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Chapter 12 Tribal Colleges: Cultural Support for Women Campus Presidencies

Women of Color in Higher Education: Turbulent Past, Promising Future

ISBN: 978-1-78052-180-0, eISBN: 978-1-78052-169-5

Publication date: 18 August 2011


In 1992, women presidents led 10 of 28 (36%) AIHEC member colleges (Ambler, 1992). In the intervening years, that number has grown; currently, 16 (48%) of the 33 American Higher Education Consortium regular member universities and colleges are led by women (AIHEC, 2010). Leadership in indigenous education is congruent with the role of woman as caregiver and nurturer, and barriers that prevent women from assuming leadership positions do not seem to be as prevalent in tribal institutions as in mainstream institutions. Tribal college leadership demonstrates commitment to the values of open access, diversity, and inclusiveness.

Tribal colleges have a common mission of restoring and preserving tribal culture and language; culture defines the purpose, process, and product. Tribal critical race theory (TribalCrit) may provide a foundation for understanding leadership because it “emphasizes the importance of tribal philosophies, beliefs, customs, traditions, and visions for the future” (Brayboy, 2005, p. 437). This chapter provides a perspective of the role of women in American Indian tribal college leadership, and begins with foundational information on tribal colleges and AIHEC as well as a brief review of leadership theory. TribalCrit frames indigenous education and tribal college leadership; storytelling provides the vehicle to relay precepts of indigenous leadership through the female voices of four tribal college leaders.


Krumm, B.L. and Johnson, W. (2011), "Chapter 12 Tribal Colleges: Cultural Support for Women Campus Presidencies", Jean-Marie, G. and Lloyd-Jones, B. (Ed.) Women of Color in Higher Education: Turbulent Past, Promising Future (Diversity in Higher Education, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 263-289.



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