AIHEC recognizes that it is the inherent right of human beings to achieve a sense of self-realization within the context of their cultural philosophies and understandings.

Self-realization for American Indians and Alaska Native people is dependent upon the ability to express tribal individualism manifested in Native spiritual lives, families, and communities, and as an extension, Native institutions. For this reason, it had been the intent of the AIHEC constituent tribes to establish and develop Tribal Colleges and Universities that are defined and controlled by tribal people that comprehensively address the human spiritual and physical needs of the tribes while promoting and enhancing tribal cultures. The establishment of AIHEC is an exercise of tribal sovereignty, and as such, the establishment of AIHEC student activities and organizations is an extension of that sovereignty, preserving tribal cultures and spirit and advancing student educational development through activities and athletics.

AIHEC Student Services

TCU athletics share the common values of culture, respect, wellness, and leadership as the cornerstones of their program. AIHEC-sanctioned athletic competition is an equal privilege with academics acknowledged as the priority for students.

AIHEC Athletic Commission

Role and Responsibilities of the Commission

    1. To promote and develop athletics as an important component of Tribal College and University holistic education
    2. To serve as overseers of AIHEC-sponsored athletic events including the enforcement of AIHEC policies, procedures, rules, and regulations and the resolution of any challenged decisions
    3. To encourage, through standardized guidelines and codes of conduct, sound ethics and good sportspersonship as the cornerstone to a strong athletic program and an accomplished AIHEC athlete and scholar
    4. To enforce gender equality wherever absent to broaden opportunities and increase participation.

2020 Commissioners
David Yarlott
Eva Flying
Juan Perez
George LaFrance
Cameron Billy
Twyla Baker
Pete Conway

Little Big Horn College
Chief Dull Knife College
Salish Kootenai College
Navajo Technical University
Stone Child College
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
United Tribes Technical College

AIHEC Athletic Staff
Alex Grandon (Central Office)

Since the first AIHEC Student Conference in 1980, this annual event has grown from a few dozen participants to over 1,000 students, faculty, and staff coming together each spring to compete in academic, cultural, and artistic exercises; share stories, and best practices; participate in workshops and plenary sessions; and celebrate the Tribal College Movement.



AIHEC Student Conference

As participation has grown, the conference has also grown in complexity and organization. In 2010, the AIHEC Board of Directors, composed of the nation’s Tribal College and University (TCU) presidents, requested that AIHEC and TCU staff begin the process of formalizing and standardizing the conference, including competition rules, participation requirements, judging, cost, etc. In 2013, the Board established the AIHEC Student Conference Commission to oversee this process.

AIHEC Student Conference Handbook

The AIHEC Student Conference Handbook is the result of the Commission’s continuing work. The AIHEC Student Conference Commission drafted the AIHEC Student Conference Handbook to acquaint member TCUs with the information needed to host the annual AIHEC Student Conference, typically scheduled in the spring semester of each year. The AIHEC member TCUs have assembled into five discrete regions. Every year, one of these five regions organizes a “host committee” consisting of knowledgeable individuals from each region’s TCUs. This committee plans and manages the annual AIHEC Student Conference.

Individuals from each of the host committee’s TCUs involved in the planning or managing of the annual AIHEC Student Conference should read, understand, and comply with all the policies and guidelines outlined in this AIHEC 2018 Student Conference Handbook. The handbook describes many of the events and responsibilities of the host committee and outlines helpful guidelines for each event or responsibility.

There are two main objectives of the AIHEC Student Conference Handbook: 1) To standardize the year-to-year rules, procedures, and awards of each student competition, and 2) to provide direction to new coordinators, judges, administrators, and TCU Presidents who might have never attended or contributed to the annual AIHEC Student Conference.

2020 Commissioners
Samantha Cameron
Carrie Schumacher
Jonnie Clifford
Koreen Ressler
Melissa Peters

AIHEC Student Conference Commission Staff
Alex Grandon (Central Office)

Bay Mills Community College
Fort Peck Community College
Oglala Lakota College
Sitting Bull College
Institute of American Indian Arts


AIHEC Student Congress

The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Student Congress is the representative body for the students attending the 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities in the United States and Canada. The AIHEC member schools are fully accredited institutions providing a full range of services and educational opportunities both on and off the reservation. Degrees are offered at all levels, from vocational certificates to the doctoral degree in nearly all disciplines.

Our Mission
Founded in 1986, The AIHEC Student Congress (ASC) works to promote leadership, self-governance, cultural preservation, education achievement, community development, economical sustainability and success for all Native people. Past accomplishments have included successful lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., student representation on national panels and development of a leadership institute. 

AIHEC Student Congress Co-Advisors
Stacia Prue
Amber Morseau
Marvene Tom