Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

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Henrietta Mann

Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College
Purpose Prize Fellow 2010

Mann is providing Native American youths a pathway out of poverty through culturally based higher education at a newly created tribal college.

Preserving Native American language, culture, traditions and land has been a central feature of Henrietta Mann’s work as an educator. But after spending nearly four decades in public higher education, Mann was weary of seeing the continuing achievement gap of Native American students.

After an attempt at retirement, Mann returned home to Oklahoma to become the founding president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College (CATC) in Weatherford, Okla. CATC, one of only four tribal colleges in Oklahoma, ensures that Native Americans have culturally based education opportunities, which are not offered to them elsewhere.

Mann believes that native youths must have a solid education that reflects their culture, history, government and language in order to provide leadership for their communities. Starting in 2006 with just one student, CATC now has 110 students from 17 tribes. Currently, the college is hosted by Southwestern Oklahoma State University but in the next five years, Mann plans to build an environmentally friendly campus for CATC. Mann is also working to increase enrollment, add additional degree programs and extend distance learning capabilities.

“I intend to continue utilizing my skills and experience to do the work I was destined to perform,” says Mann, “Cheyennes believe we are each put on Earth for a purpose. I am fulfilling my life purpose.”