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Home > Teen Authors > Janine Pease

Janine Pease

Photo of Janine PeaseDr. Janine Pease is a renowned American Indian educator and advocate. Amongst other achievements, she was the founding president of the Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency Montana, a past president of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (for two terms), a director of the American Indian College Fund (for seven years), and was appointed by President Clinton to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (for eight years). She was also a trustee of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Janine Pease wrote the introduction for The Essential Charles Eastman. Dr. Pease also wrote the "Foreword" to The Spirit of Indian Women. In addition, she contributed to the book Native Spirit: The Sun Dance Way, and her videotaped comments and counsel were included in Native Spirit and The Sun Dance Way , a 2-disc DVD set.

Janine Pease is a Crow and Hidatsa Indian, enrolled as a Crow.

Dr. Pease has been the recipient of several prestigious awards and honors: National Indian Educator of the Year (1990), the MacArthur Fellowship Award (better known as the “Genius Award”) and the ACLU Jeanette Rankin Award. She has been named one of the “One Hundred Montanan’s of the Century” by the Missoulian Magazine, a “Montanans To Remember” by Montana Magazine, and one of the fourteen most important American Indians leaders of the twentieth century in New Warriors, by R. David Edmunds (University of Nebraska Press). She is also the recipient of Honorary Doctorate degrees from six different colleges and universities. Dr. Pease served on the Montana Human Rights Commission, and was appointed to the Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education in June, 2006 by Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Pease was born on the Colville Indian Reservation in eastern Washington, where both of her parents taught school. One of her paternal great-grandfathers was White-Man Runs-Him, one of the Crow scouts who served with George Armstrong Custer. She holds two bachelor's degrees from Central Washington University, and her fluent Spanish and interest in Latino culture is, in part, the result of a semester studying in Mexico. In 1987 she received her master’s degree from Montana State University, and in 1994 she received a doctorate in adult and higher education from MSU.

She has worked for the Governor’s Commission on Youth Involvement, a division of the state government in Washington and taught Native American Studies at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington, where the student body was 40% Hispanic. She was also a counselor for women students at the Navajo Community College.

In 1975, Janine Pease served as the director of the Crow tribe’s Adult and Continuing Education Program. She built the program to include fifty-one employees in eleven centers, and she collaborated with the Crow Central Education Commission to establish the first Crow Indian educational authority, which was designed to provide the education of trial members, both on and off the Crow Reservation.

Dr. Pease has also worked as a counselor at Eastern Montana College (now Montana State University in Billings). She then became executive director of the Little Big Horn Tribal College, which was the one of the results of her earlier work with the Crow Educational Authority. Under her guidance, the college grew out of its dilapidated abandoned gymnasium with almost no funding into an accredited, financially secure college with a modern campus. The college offers a divers academic curriculum and, in addition, under Dr. Pease's leadership it championed efforts to preserve the Crow language, traditional culture and spirituality. Her efforts established the Crow Indian Archives, which is now the primary repository for “records, papers, scrapbooks, family histories, and photographs of Crow individuals and tribal historians, copies of federal government records; external studies and reports; and research materials from historians, anthropologists, missionaries, attorneys, and others who have studied Crow life.” Little Big Horn College continues as a fully accredited two-year institution.

She is currently the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Fort Peck Community College in Poplar, Montana. Before that, she held the position of Vice President for American Indian Affairs at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana from 2003-2008. Dr. Pease has also owned her own consulting firm, specializing in tribal colleges and universities program development and strategic planning.

Pease (then Janine Windy Boy) also was the leading plaintiff in voting rights litigation against Big Horn County (Windy Boy v. Big Horn County), which resulted in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned a Montana state law which had discriminated against the voting rights of American Indians.



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