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FOR ASHLEY, WAYNE, AND SHAYANNA: SUPPORTING TRIBAL COLLEGE STUDENTS AND ADDRESSING ABUSE

Lucchesi, Annita Hetoevehotohke'e. Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education; Mancos Vol. 30, Iss. 4,  (Summer 2019): 28-30.

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Ashley was a joy to have m any classroom.

She had a whip-smart sense of humor, and there was more than one occasion where the jokes she told in class were so funny, I would still be laughing days and months later. Perhaps the most memorable of these jokes happened in speech class. We were having a class discussion on how we might debate the issue of removing grizzly bears from the endangered species list. Without missing a beat, Ashley said, "Well those bears are sacred to the Blackfeet people and should be protected ... also, when I'm out hunting I like to know I could run into bears and wolves-I like to get the adrenaline pumping." That's who I knew her to be- funny, fierce, and the bright light in the room.

Ashley loved her family, friends, and her people very deeply. Her assignments always focused on Native rights and the protection of Blackfeet homelands and people. Her final project for the capstone class-the last course before graduating-was a guide for tourists visiting the nearby Glacier National Park on how to care for the land they were visiting with respect and to preserve the habitat for mountain goats. That's how I came to think of the deep impact of cases of missing and murdered Native women and girls. I found myself imagining the mountain goats missing her. Ashley and all the other missing and murdered Native women and girls have so many things to contribute to their communities, their peoples, and to Indian Country. When we miss them, we are missing a deeper ripple effect than we know.

Over a year and a half after Ashley disappeared, her former classmate Wayne was found deceased in a field. Wayne was also known to help his classmates and had a bright future...