Health & Education

General Council briefed on Education Department

03.14.2023 Danielle Harrison General Council, Education
Angela Fasana


By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals staff writer

Education Department Manager Angela Fasana briefed Tribal members on the department’s various programs and accomplishments during a Sunday, March 5, General Council meeting held via the Zoom video conferencing application and in Tribal Council Chambers.

During the meeting, Fasana highlighted the department’s successes of the past year, organizational changes, construction projects and future goals.

“I’m excited to talk about everything we’ve done this past year, and our hopes and dreams for the future,” she said.

Fasana said 2022 as a whirlwind year after weathering almost two years of various COVID-19 restrictions and closures.

“We have new buildings coming online and are trying to figure out where everyone will be going,” she said. “We are still short-staffed and our employees need extra support.”

Fasana said the Education Department is now sending out a monthly newsletter with updates and has been working on Community Development Plan implementation. Literacy, records management, emergency management and community outreach also have been a focus in the past year, along with grant and facilities management.

“All of our higher education files and now laser fiche are searchable,” she said. “We’re slowly working through the other programs.”  

Fasana also provided an overview of the Early Childhood, Youth and Higher Education programs, as well as an update on the new hayu munk skukum Services and Chinuk Language programs.

Some of the highlights included:

  • There are 69 students in five pre-school classrooms and 29 students in the home-based program. The child care feasibility study is complete and there are plans to build an eight-room childhood development center with a tentative opening date of fall 2024;
  • The Chinuk Language program continues to be successful. There are 17 students in the preschool class, 15 in the kindergarten to sixth-grade class and 38 in the high school class. There is no longer a middle school class. Instead, two different levels are offered at Willamina High School. A new, six-classroom language building will open in the fall for preschool through sixth-grade students;
  • Youth Education offers academic advising, coaching, curriculum development, a Shawash Studies high school class, college visits, school supply distributions, and an annual honor and recognition event. There are 320 students who utilize academic coaches and advisers. Fifteen students are enrolled in the Shawash Studies class and 37 in a guided study class. Additionally, a Native literature class has 13 students enrolled;
  • Youth Enrichment, now hayu munk skukum Services, continues its popular hihi-lakhaset (fun boxes) activity project, which served 1,200 students last year. The afterschool and summer programs include 100 students, while 120 participate in Native Club activities. Last summer, 28 students were selected for the Youth Internship program. Staff also participate in Monday morning meet-ups in Tribal housing;
  • Higher Education currently has 78 students in bachelor degree programs, 46 in graduate degree programs, 91 in community college programs, 11 in non-credit classes, five enrolled in GED programs and five students in education/career coaching. The Tribe also had 93 students who received a state Tribal Student Grant to cover college tuition and other expenses;
  • And the Tribal Library provides author visits, afterschool programming and mobile library services for those who cannot come in person.

Fasana said that goals include hosting a language building open house, completing a Tribally operated school feasibility study and opening the child development center. To learn more about the Education Department, visit 

Fasana took six questions and comments from the audience. Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy said that education has always been a priority for the Tribe. 

“This was a good report and had a lot of important information,” she said. “Education is a principle that the Tribe has always embraced.” 

In other action, it was announced that the next General Council meeting will be in a hybrid format at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 2, at the Lane Community College Longhouse, 4000 E. 30th Ave., Eugene, with a presentation about fentanyl awareness and education. 

Door prize winners were Lee Huffman, Angie Blackwell, Darla Reynvaan, Cheyenne Haller and Matthew Haller, $50 each; and Josephine Ingraham, Jamieson Smallwood and Jack Giffen Jr., $100 each.

The entire meeting can be viewed by visiting the Tribal government’s website at and clicking on the Government tab and then Videos.