In early 2018, Will Tsosie (History, ’69) and his wife were dining at the Pizza Hut in Farmington when he bumped into a fellow former graduate of FLC. After reminiscing funny memories of their days in the dorms, an idea hatched to organize a reunion for the Class of 1969. They enlisted the help of FLC Alumni Engagement, and, on August 4, 2018, 15 Native American alumni gathered in Durango for the inception of the Native American Alumni Chapter, officially recognized with a certificate signed by FLC President Tom Stritikus and Director of Alumni Engagement Krista Knott. Since that debut summer soiree, meetings have welcomed as many as 100 alumni spanning classes from the 1960s up to the Class of 2019. A leadership group, including a historian, was formed to organize the quarterly get-togethers.
One of the NAAC’s primary focuses is ensuring that Native history, including current tribal settings, is taught correctly — not only at FLC, but also in high schools and other colleges across the country. The flourishing chapter has also given away more than $2,000 in scholarships to support Native American students in finishing their college degrees.
According to Tsosie, many tribal communities are in poverty, a situation that is neglected when Native college graduates do not return to their tribal lands due to lack of employment. The NAAC hopes to diminish poverty rates on tribal lands by encouraging graduates to return to their reservations and put their educations and talents to use for the greater good of their communities.
The NAAC is actively enlisting new members. If interested, please contact Krista Knott at firstname.lastname@example.org or Will Tsosie at email@example.com.