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More than Beads and Feathers


The University of North Dakota is proud to present the third series of More Than Beads and Feathers posters, featuring highly accomplished graduates from a variety of tribal affiliations and majors.  The posters inform the general public, American Indians, the region, and nation about the UND experience for American Indians.  The posters feature American Indian graduates of UND now making professional contributions and significant differences in their tribal communities and well beyond as a result of their education at UND.

The University has long been recognized as a national leader in American Indian higher education, with an array of American Indian related programs, student leadership development opportunities, and student support services.  UND has a lengthy history of highly successful collaborations with the state and region’s tribal colleges, and to date has over 3,000 American Indian alumni, who are professionals in every career and employment field imaginable.

On April 7, 2006, AISS, in cooperation with University Relations and members of the UND administration, launched a poster campaign, “More than Beads and Feathers,” which featured nine successful American Indian graduates of UND representing various majors at UND and the tribes of the state of North Dakota.  The project was originally the idea of former Vice President for Student and Outreach Services Dr. Robert Boyd, who collaborated with Dr. Leigh Jeanotte and American Indian Student Services staff, along with various other offices on campus to develop, implement, promote, and distribute the posters throughout Indian Country and the United States.

The idea behind the More Than Beads and Feathers poster campaign was loosely based on the American Indian College Fund advertising campaign which featured the question: “Have you ever seen a real Indian?” Similarly, Dr. Boyd wanted to promote current, contemporary representations of American Indian graduates and professionals to: 1.) combat long-held, historical, and often stereotypical renditions of American Indians; 2.) promote the opportunities and success stories regarding American Indians and the wealth of higher education opportunities available at UND; and 3.) use the posters to inspire American Indian youth of the state, region, and beyond to pursue higher education and professional careers that typically result in improvements of culturally relevant services throughout reservation communities. 

The More Than Beads and Feathers campaign has realized its goals and continues to grow in its distribution, promotion, and value in inspiring greater numbers of American Indians to pursue higher education opportunities and professional careers that often bring the graduates home to serve their tribal communities.

Most of the participants/subjects for the first set of posters were present along with their family members and individuals from the campus and their home communities at the official unveiling, which coincided with the opening of the newly constructed American Indian Center.

A second set of posters was unveiled in 2009 at a ceremony honoring the participants at the Hooper Danley Spirituality Center. It was followed by a luncheon reception.

The posters are distributed to tribal offices and entities, schools, and community colleges of the state, and serve to inspire other tribal members to pursue or continue higher education.  The posters are displayed in the computer lab at the American Indian Center.  The posters are also displayed at the Memorial Union, Dean of Students Office, the Chester Fritz Library, and will be used in national and local publications to recruit American Indian students and promote UND.  Chuck Kimmerle photographed the first two series, and Jackie Lorentz photographed the third.

The third round of participants to be featured in the poster campaign titled  “More Than Beads and Feathers – A Bigger Better Project” are: Elsie Morningstar, Three Affiliated Tribes; Cheryl Kary, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Biron Baker, Mandan-Hidatsa; Francine McDonald, Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe; Duane Gourneau, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa; Jason Hrdlicka, Oglala Sioux Tribe; Joseph Morsette, Chippewa-Cree Tribe; Kimberly Rhoades, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; and Daniel Fluke, Cherokee. This third set of posters will be completed in the Spring of 2012 with the official celebration taking place during the 42nd Annual (American Indian) Time Out Week & Wacipi held on campus April 16 - 22, 2012.