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Major Win for IAIA at AIHEC

Mar 16, 2023

From March 4–7, 2023, IAIA students, staff, and faculty attended the 2023 American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) Conference at the Albuquerque Convention Center, staying at the Clyde Hotel just a block away. The AIHEC Conference is a major event in Indian Country open to students from the 37 AIHEC member tribal colleges and universities across the United States. Students came together to participate in a variety of events, such as the AIHEC Powwow and Pueblo Throw. They challenged each other in nineteen competitions ranging from archery to science and the AIHEC 5K Fun Run on the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute campus. Notable speakers presented for the opening ceremony, general sessions, and awards banquet, including Navajo Nation President Dr. Buu Nygren (Navajo Nation) and Reservation Dogs writer and IAIA MFA in Creative Writing alum Migizi Pensoneau (Ponca and Ojibwe). Twenty-one individual students and two teams from IAIA won thirty-four awards and were particularly well-represented in the art and film categories. Davieshena Redhouse (Navajo Nation) won four awards—the most awards for an individual student.




“Due to the Pandemic, we were celebrating our first student conference in four years as well as AIHEC’s 50th anniversary. More than 1,100 students, faculty, and staff registered for the conference, in which there was an apparent sense of joy, enthusiasm, and community among the participants.”

Dr. Robert Martin (Cherokee Nation)

IAIA President

Sareya Taylor (White Mountain Apache Tribe and Navajo Nation) was crowned Ms. AIHEC, scoring a major win for IAIA. Taylor was previously featured as one of Teen Vogue’s “11 Indigenous Youth Making a Difference in their Communities” and was named the Inaugural Youth Poet Laureate of Phoenix. As part of the selection process, she read her poem “I Am” to the judges. As Ms. AIHEC, she will represent the American Indian Higher Education Consortium at future events. Watch and listen to her poem on the IAIA website.

2023 AHIEC Conference Award Winners

  • Sareya Taylor (White Mountain Apache Tribe and Navajo Nation)—Ms. AIHEC, Honorable Mention in Poetry
  • IAIA Chess Team—4th in Chess
  • IAIA Performing Arts—1st in One-Act Play, 4th in One-Act Play
  • Tayloure Baker (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation)—4th in 5K
  • Jaycie Begay (Santa Clara Pueblo, Navajo, and Northern Ute)—2nd in Traditional Plants and Herbs
  • Jennifer Benally (Oneida Wisconsin)—2nd in Dimensional, 3rd in Quilt
  • Whisper Crowdog (Rosebud Sioux Tribe)—1st in Beading, 2nd in Leather
  • Jared DeCelles (Fort Belknap Tribe)—2nd in Sculpture
  • Nakaya Deschiney (Navajo Nation)— 2nd in Drawing
  • Desmond Hayes—Best Special Effects, Best Editing
  • Shannon Hooper (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe)—2nd in Textiles
  • Preston Johnson (Navajo Nation)—5th in Interpretation Humorous
  • Jontay Kahm (Little Pine First Nation)—People’s Choice Award Contemporary, 1st in Mixed Media
  • Xeneca LeClair (Otoe-Missouria Tribe)—Best Director
  • Ibe Liebenberg (Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma)—Best Poetry, Best Fiction
  • Emily Little Hoop (Oglala Sioux Tribe)—1st in Interpretation Serious
  • Monica Silva Lovato (San Felipe and Santo Domingo Pueblo) —3rd in Ceramic Pottery
  • Montana Miller (Navajo Nation)—3rd in Interpretation Humorous
  • Jeremy Red Eagle (Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate)—1st in Leather
  • Davieshena Redhouse (Navajo Nation)—Best Lead Role, Best Screenwriting, Best Live Action Narrative, 5th in Informative Speech
  • Emily Schulyer (Oneida Nation of the Thames)—3rd in Jewelry
  • Brian Taaffe (Taos Pueblo)—2nd in Mixed Media
  • Ienenharihsh Thompson (St. Regis Mohawk Tribe)—2nd in Place Jewelry
  • Kayla Wanatee (Sac and Fox of the Mississippi)—1st in Textiles

Congratulations IAIA Students!

Institute of American Indian Arts

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is the only college in the world dedicated to the study of contemporary Native American and Alaska Native arts. IAIA offers undergraduate degrees in Cinematic Arts and Technology, Creative Writing, Indigenous Liberal Studies, Museum Studies, Performing Arts, and Studio Arts; graduate degrees in Creative Writing, Studio Arts, and Cultural Administration; and certificates in Broadcast Journalism, Business and Entrepreneurship, Museum Studies, and Native American Art History. The college serves approximately 500 full-time equivalent (FTE) Native and non-Native American students from around the globe, representing nearly a hundred federally recognized tribes. Named one of the top art institutions by UNESCO and the International Association of Art, IAIA is among the leading art institutes in our nation and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

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We invite you to explore our degree programs and certificates to find out which program is right for you. Below are the programs we offer at IAIA.

Broadcast Journalism
Business and Entrepreneurship
Cultural Administration
Cinematic Arts & Technology
Creative Writing
Indigenous Liberal Studies
Museum Studies
Native American Art History
Native American Studies
Performing Arts
Studio Arts
Key: Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Fine Arts (AFA), Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Certificate (CT), and Online (ON)

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