Tribal Council hears advocacy for support for Methodist University scholarship

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PEMBROKE – Representatives of the Methodist University medical assistant program on Thursday asked for support from the Lumbee Tribal Council to establish a dedicated scholarship for Lumbee students.

The scholarship would be worth $ 50,000 – $ 25,000 per semester for two semesters – and would be awarded annually to a Lumbee student in the program, said Jennifer Mish, director of admissions and alumni development at Methodist University, during ‘a presentation given at the Tribal Council conference. regular meeting.

“Our goal is to ask for your help in making recommendations to members of your community and peers who have the resources and desire to donate to this program,” Mish said.

The competitive program lasts two years, with the first year devoted to classroom study followed by a year of clinical internships prior to graduation.

Students entering the program spend an average of $ 102,000 to $ 105,000 for 2.5 years in the program.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that students can’t work while they’re enrolled in the program, so they have to worry about expenses other than tuition,” Mish said.

It is rare for program students to pay for the program out of pocket, she said.

“[S]“Many of our students will be financing their entire time at AP school through student loans, which leaves them with a hefty bill of around $ 150,000 to $ 200,000 in student debt,” she said. .

Lumbee students currently occupy eight of the 40 seats in the program.

Eight Lumbee alumni and current students of the program on Thursday explained why they signed up and what the program has done for them.

“One of the reasons I chose to pursue this career is that I am very passionate about improving the healthcare imperatives that our Lumbee employees see on a daily basis,” said Phoenix Locklear, who currently participates in the program.

Ashley Locklear Clark graduated from the program in 2016 and has practiced in women’s health ever since.

“It’s important to note that there was a time when our people couldn’t go to school. There was a time when our people had to fight to get into these colleges and universities, ”Clark said. “I feel the Methodists were a godsend. God put Methodists in my life. We are living the wildest dreams of our ancestors.

“We never want cost to be a barrier for someone to participate in our program. They have cheaper programs, but we want them to come to Methodist because we have a great track record with them, ”Mish said.

Pam Hunt, chair of the finance committee, said the tribal council will soon begin budget discussions for the next fiscal year.

“I can’t promise you, I only have one voice, but I know we will be discussing scholarships,” Hunt said. “I can tell you that I think this topic will be discussed on June 30th.”

Also on Thursday, Lumbee Tribal Administrative Court Judge Gary Deese was sworn in to members of the newly established Constitution Reform Committee.

Council approved an ordinance to establish the Committee at the July business meeting.

The committee idea was conceived by the Constitutional Ordinance Committee of the Council as a way to establish a group of tribal residents who will assist with constitutional reform to update the founding document to better reflect Lumbee society in constant evolution.

The new committee will work with the Tribal Council’s Constitutional Ordinance Committee to develop processes and amendments to establish constitutional reform.

After the swearing-in ceremony, Council approved an ordinance establishing the committee’s guidelines and mandated that all disciplinary guidelines be tried by the Lumbee Tribal Court.

In other cases, Deese was sworn in to Whitney Bell for a five-year term at the North Carolina Indian Housing Authority. The Authority is governed by an 11-member Council of Commissioners, whose commissioners are selected from among the state-recognized Indian tribes and the four urban Indian associations officially recognized by the state of North Carolina.

The tribal council also approved a resolution supporting a cancer education and awareness event for Lumbee members in Robeson and surrounding counties. The event is scheduled for October 23 at the Lumbee Tribe Cultural Center in Maxton.

Tomeka Sinclair can be contacted at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.

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