For ASFLC Executive Team Alray Nelson and Laura Beth Waltz

Statement by Alray Nelson

Should I be elected, I will be the second Native American Student Body President next to Sandra One Feather. It will be the first time in two decades. This is not the only big step forward for our school. Next year, 2011, is the 100th birthday of Fort Lewis College; our CENTENNIAL. With that in mind, my election to this position will also demonstrate that we as native people have prevailed, are alive, are active, and passionate.

        With my language and teachings of the Navajo way, I hope to stand for this school as a diverse voice, honoring its historical mission, and leading a new generation of young people. We can do better. We can change our college, but the first step is getting more native students elected into these positions.

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        I am the only candidate running for President who is also talking about the important issues. The budget cuts next year is evident however we need a student government that will STAND for our faculty, our staff, and our students, and tell the Administration that we will not allow them to cut the salaries of the people who are in the classrooms with the students until they consider cutting theirs as wel.l        I foresee a Fort Lewis College that will responsibly utilize the Old Fort property by consulting our students and faculty about the future of this land. I am also surprised that our college, that serves a large Native population and with the tuition waiver program, still does not have an Advisor to the President on Native American affairs.  We will bring this topic to the table. I envision a Fort Lewis College that is a future hub for Indigenous and Sustainable Education.

        We need to increase our recruitment efforts for Indian Country and increase the retention rate of our Native community. Everything is interconnected. I will be a Student Body President that upholds the words of honor, commitment, consensus, and courage.

        Students know me as a former ASFLC Student Senator and community activist. I am the founder of the Facebook page, STUDENTS FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN TUITION WAIVER @ FORT LEWIS COLLEGE, where we defeated House Bill 10-1067 that would have been detrimental to our school budget. My passion came with the idea that once state lawmakers started discussion to cut any form of funding for the Tuition Waiver program, it was the first step in eliminating it.

        I am about bringing people together and feel very passionate about the future of our college and students. I am a fighter and do get things done.

        Next year can be the time when we start the transformation of our college!

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