Native Village Youth and Education News
October, 2009


Dr. Henrietta Mann comes home
by WESLEY MAHAN Native American Times

Condensed by Native Village

 Weatherford, Oklahoma:  Dr. Henrietta Mann is not your average 75-year-old.

Last year, she became the first president of the Cheyenne Arapaho Tribal College. The school is on the campus of her alma mater, Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She received her degree there in 1956 and is now a member of the school’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.

“I grew up Cheyenne in a small town in western Oklahoma. What has happened is I’ve come home,” she said. After finishing college, Dr. Mann eventually headed to teach Native Studies at the University of California. “That was quite an experience during the heyday of activism,” she said.

Later, Mann moved to the University of Montana. where she taught for nearly 2.   “I took a leave of absence to go and experience the Boston area when I went to Harvard to be interim director of the American Indian program,” she said.

Among her many prestigious awards:

In 1983, Dr. Mann was named the Cheyenne Indian of the Year.

In 1987, Henrietta was named the National American Indian Woman of the Year.

In 1991  Rolling Stone Magazine named her one of the ten leading professors in the country.

In  2008, Mann received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Indian Education Association

One honor was very painful -- being asked to visit Ground Zero at the site of the World Trade Centers and ask prayers and blessings for the land. “First I cried. I had never seen such devastation in my life. I was horrified by our treatment of one another. I tend to always be hopeful and optimistic about life, but that day was a reality. I’ve been taught that tears are the highest form of prayer, it was high for me that day,” she said.

With so many honors and awards and distinctions during her lifetime Dr. Mann has worked hard but feels like she’s been lucky as well. “I’ve been blessed, those are blessings," Henrietta said of her recognition. " I don’t know that I ever set out to achieve any of those honors. I just done my job to the best of my abilities and those things just sort of came.”

Dr. Mann holds the Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at Montana State University/ She has also been a consultant on several movies and documentaries involving Native Americans and authored the history of Cheyenne-Arapaho Education, 1871-1982. “It was a wonderful feeling to have been on this incredible ride, this journey from Hammon, Oklahoma.,” she said.

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