Native Youth Leadership Alliance

(David Cournoyer) We Are All Leaders: Reflections on Aaniih Nakoda College Graduation

I was honored to be ‘s graduation speaker on May 10.  The overall theme was that ‘We Are All Leaders.’
Colleges like Sinte Gleska are named after individuals. Aaniih Nakoda College was renamed, in my view, after the entire tribal membership of the Aaniih and Nakoda peoples in recognition of that collective leadership.

It was the first graduation under the former Fort Belknap College’s new name and the school’s largest group of graduates (37) ever. ANC also acknowledged several students who earned their teaching degrees through a four-year university, as well as three 8th graders who are graduating from the White Clay Immersion School. ANC also recognized several staff/faculty who have recently finished various degrees. It was a very inspiring event pulled off by many different people pulling together.

I tried to keep my message short, summing it up as “A, B, C and D.” B=Be positive, assume the best, stay focused on your long-term vision. C=Communicate, address challenges and conflicts honestly, listen, ask good questions. A=Adapt, change is only getting more rapid, we need to focus on learning and new insights that build on everyone’s thinking, the faster we fail the sooner we can succeed. D=Do it, get going, plan and ask for help but don’t wait for the perfect plan.