Leech Lake Tribal College
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|Motto||"Be Different, Be Unique"|
|President||Dr. Erma Vizenor|
|Students||358 (fall 2015, Cass Lake and Red Lake campus)|
|Undergraduates||358 (fall 2015)|
|Location||6945 Little Wolf Road NW Cass Lake, Minnesota, United States 56633
|Campus||Rural 6945 Little Wolf Road PO Box 180|
The Leech Lake Tribal College is a regionally accredited two-year public non-profit higher education institution awarding associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates.
The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe established Leech Lake Tribal College by Tribal Resolution in July 1990. For two years, courses were offered in extension from the University of Minnesota at Duluth, Bemidji State University, Itasca and Brainerd Community Colleges.
In the fall quarter of 1992, The college had its first graduate of the Associate of Arts program in Anishinaabe Language and Culture in the spring of 1993. In 1994, the college was accorded status as a Land Grant Institution by the United States Congress. Also in 1994, seventeen graduates completed their Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Applied Science degrees. By the spring of 1995, the number of graduates had increased to twenty-four.
The college moved classrooms and administration to the former Cass Lake High School building in the fall of 1994, resulting in an increased student enrollment of 196. These students were enrolled in two year Associate of Arts transfer degree programs, or in two-year technical programs leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree, or in one-year vocational programs. In May 2010, LLTC honored 48 graduates, the largest class to graduate in LLTC’s history. In 2016, the College graduated over 525 students, with 49 graduates between the Cass Lake and Red Lake campuses. In 2016, the College graduated over 525 students, with 49 graduates between the Cass Lake and Red Lake campuses.
Today, Leech Lake Tribal College (including the Red Lake Campus) includes approximately 60 faculty, staff, administrators, and 350 students. Most of our students come from the Leech Lake and Red Lake Reservations. Approximately 5% of the student population is non-Indian. The college was accredited as a post-secondary Vocational School in 1993. The college was awarded candidacy status with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2002 for its associate degree programs, and continued candidacy in 2004. Full accreditation status was granted on September 26, 2006 for the maximum initial accreditation period of five years, with no focus visits required.
The College was ranked by the Washington Monthly College Guide as #7 two-year college in the nation among 600 other similar institutions. Furthermore, the College received an award for "Veteran Friendly" college in 2012.
LLTC offers programs of study including:
- Liberal Education
- Liberal Education with a STEM Emphasis
- Indigenous Leadership
- Early Childhood Education
- Law Enforcement
- Building and Construction Trades, including Residential Carpentry and Construction Electricity
LLTC is located on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in north central Minnesota, three miles northwest of the town of Cass Lake. The campus houses two academic wings, library, two technical training buildings, and a community garden, among other facilities. The campus covers approximately 22 acres of leased land.
LLTC is also the administrator of the Red Lake Nation College as it undergoes accreditation processes. RLNC is an extension site of LLTC and graduates receive their diplomas conferred by LLTC.
The College was established out of necessity to improve the quality of life for the people living in the Leech Lake Reservation. Larry P. Aitken, described the lack of law enforcement response on the reservation and the lack of protection for the people of Leech Lake. Dubbed "brown faces in blue uniforms", Aitken and others approach the RTC to start a College to train peace officers.
LLBO established LLTC by Tribal Resolution in July 1990. For two years, courses were offered in extension from the University of Minnesota Duluth, Bemidji State University, Itasca Community College and Central Lakes College (then known as Brainerd Community College). In the fall quarter of 1992, LLTC began offering its own courses leading toward the Associate of Arts and the Associate of Applied Science Degrees.
The first LLTC student was Sean Fahrlander, graduating with an Associate of Arts degree in Anishinaabe Language and Culture in the spring of 1993. In 1994, the College was accorded status as a Land Grant Institution by the United States Congress. The College had its first and only graduate in 1993. Also, in 1994, seventeen graduates completed their Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Applied Science degrees. By the spring of 1995, the number of graduates had increased to twenty-four. The 2007–08 academic year saw record student enrollment; the 2008 graduating class was the largest in LLTC history.
The College held classes in available buildings throughout the city of Cass Lake and towns throughout the Leech Lake Reservation. Initially in an log cabin adjacent to MN HWY 2, it expanded to an old church and houses in Cass Lake.
The College moved classrooms and administration to the former Cass Lake High School building in the fall of 1994, resulting in greatly increased enrollment of 196 students. These students were enrolled in two-year Associate of Arts transfer degree programs, or in two-year technical programs leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree, or in one-year vocational programs. Today, LLTC includes approximately 70 faculty, staff, administrators, and 250 full-time students. Most of our students come from the Leech Lake Reservation and the surrounding Reservations in Northern Minnesota. In addition, approximately 8% of the students enrolled at the College are non-Native American.
In 2005, the College moved to its current location 3 miles west of Cass Lake. In 2015, the College opened its new $2.7 million community library, Bezhigoogahbow Library, named after the College founder and first president, Larry P. Aitken.
The College was accredited as a vocational school in 1993. The College was awarded candidacy status with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2002, and awarded continuing candidacy status in 2004. After a final site visit in April 2006, the Higher Learning Commission bestowed full five-year accreditation on LLTC, further cementing LLTC's status as an educational leader, and providing a springboard to tremendous growth in the ensuing years. LLTC is currently in the process of applying for continuing accreditation. According to an article published on Tuesday, September 14, 2010 in The Bemidji Pioneer, a review team from the North Central Association will meet from October 4–6, 2010 with LLTC President Ginny Carney and other administration officials to study the college’s governing documents, strategic plans, marketing information, student enrollment, academic standards and other materials.
The LLTC is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which is a community of tribally and federally chartered institutions working to strengthen tribal nations and make a lasting difference in the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. LLTC was created in response to the higher education needs of American Indians. LLTC generally serves geographically isolated populations that have no other means accessing education beyond the high school level.
The LLTC is a member of the National Association of Land Grant Institutions. The LLTC receives its base funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the authority of the Tribally Controlled Community College Act (Title I, P.L. 95-471).
The College has articulation agreement and partnership with Bemidji State University, Augsburg College, University of Minnesota Duluth, Metropolitan State University, Hibbing Community College, University of North Dakota and others. The College is regionally accredited by HLC.
LLBO adopted the original LLTC Charter in 1999 and established an independent Board of Trustees; in 2002, the LLBO revised the LLTC Charter. In 2003, Leech Lake Tribal College separated from the LLBO and assumed its own accounting and human resources functions, and the LLBO formally transferred all bank accounts, equipment, and some property to LLTC. Also, the IRS granted 501(c)(3) status to LLTC as a non-profit educational entity. While separately incorporated today, LLTC still enjoys a vital relationship with LLBO, and receives about 11% of its annual funding from the Band.
LLTC competes as the Lakers within the Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
- Dr. Erma Vizenor
- Dr. Ginny Carney
- Dr. Don Day
Dr Leah Carpenter
- James Robertson
- Larry P. Aitken
Board of Trustees
The 2016-2017 Board of Trustees members includes:
- Arnold Dahl-Wooley, Chairperson
- Gary Charwood, Vice-Chairperson
- Rebecca Graves, Treasurer
- Rochelle Pemberton, Secretary
- Lenny Fineday, JD, Member
- Yvonne Wilson, Member
- Dr. Patricia Broker, Member
- Dennis Banks, Honorary Member
- Vikki Howard, Former Chair (partial term)
- Pracilla Day, Bonnie Rock, Bernice Pemberton, Gary Charwood, Dennis Banks, Jerry Morgan, Shari Bebeau-Cavitt, Rose Robinson
- Yvonne Wilson, Vikki Howard, Lenore Barsness, Shari Bebeau-Cavitt, John Herrera, Judy Hanks, Dennis Banks
- Roger Aitken, Edward Fairbanks, Esther Bogda, Vernon Barness, Yvonne Wilson, Clarice White, Nadine Chase
2002-2003 (Tribal Council)
- Eli Hunt, Linda Johnston, Peter White, Lyman Losh, Richard Robinson
1998-2002 (Tribal Council)
- Eli Hunt, Linda Johnston, Myron Ellis, Jack Seelye, Alfred Fairbanks
1994-1998 (Tribal Council)
- Alfred Pemberton, Jim Michaud, Myron Ellis, Jack Seelye, Alfred Fairbanks
1990-1994 (Tribal Council)
- Dan Brown, Jim Michaud, Alfred Fairbanks, Gladys Drouillard, Myron Ellis
Notable Staff, Faculty, and Alumni
- Larry P. Aitken, founder and first president
- Dr. Erma Vizenor, LLTC President, Former White Earth Nation Tribal Chairperson
- Elaine Fleming, Arts and Humanities Department Chair, Former Mayor City of Cass Lake, Minnesota
- Charles Dolson, J.D. Alum, Executive Director, Red Lake Nation
- Kenneth Washington, Alum, Chief of Police, Leech Lake Tribal Police
- Leslie Harper, Alum, Founder Nigaane Ojibwe Immersion School
- Daniel Gazelka, Alum, Chief of Police, City of Clearbrook
- Nicole Buckanaga, Alum, Faculty, Social Justice Advocate
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