I was personally saddened when my friend and former tribal college resident and veteran of the tribal college movement, Sky Houser, passed on on January 29, 2009. Sky died at a hospice facility near his sister’s home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at age 65. At the time of his death, he was the special projects officer for the Scott Bordeaux Leadership Institute at Sinte Gleska University.
Known as “Sky,” Houser first became acquainted with the Indian community in the mid 1970s when he was a professor at the University of Nebraska, where I first met him, and took his students to a pow wow.
In 1975, he left the University of Nebraska to help help the Santee establish a satellite campus, Northeast Nebraska Indian Satellite Community College, which later became Nebraska Indian Community College.
Sky served as chief executive officer of four tribal colleges (Nebraska Indian Community College, Sisseton Wahpeton Community College, Institute of American Indian Arts, and Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College) and worked at three others (Saskatchewan Indian Federated College, Salish Kootenai College’s Spokane branch campus, and Sinte Gleska University).
Sky left a long legacy as a writer of articles and books about American Indian education and tribal issues, in addition to medieval history. He will be deeply missed by all of us in the tribal college movement.
I am deeply touched that Sky’s commitment to educated and concern for American Indian students extended beyond his death. Sky’s family specified that gifts in his memory could be given to the American Indian College Fund.