In Memoriam: Carole Falcon-Chandler

Apr 26, 2024 | Blog, Featured Post, TCUs in the News

The American Indian College Fund was saddened to hear of the passing of Carole Falcon-Chandler, longtime president of Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC), a tribal college located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana, on April 23, 2024.
Carole Falcon-Chandler, longtime president of Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC), a tribal college located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana.

The American Indian College Fund was saddened to hear of the passing of Carole Falcon-Chandler, longtime president of Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC), a tribal college located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in Montana, on April 23, 2024.

Falcon-Chandler served ANC for 28 years: eight as the college’s dean of students and 20 as president. Falcon-Chandler was a strong and accomplished leader. During her tenure as president, she guided the ANC to financial stability and the college remained debt-free. She became an expert on the accreditation process and addressed the recommendations from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. She went on to serve as one of the accrediting board’s commissioners.

Falcon-Chandler helped establish ANC’s American Indian Studies Department and the community’s first immersion school for children, The White Clay Immersion School, which was housed on a tribal college campus. Under her leadership the college also boasts the Ekib Tsah ah Tskik (Sitting High) Cultural Center, the Tataga Kni (Returning Buffalo) Workforce Training Center, Wiyukja Wicoti Technology Center, Maintenance Shop, Carpentry Building, greenhouse, playground, and garden.

She also championed changing the college’s name from Fort Belknap College to Aaniiih Nakoda College in 2011 to better reflect the community the tribal college serves. An historic ceremony centered on educational empowerment highlighted the name change and recognized the tribal nations of the Fort Belknap Indian Community. Falcon Chander also led the way in working to establish ANC’s associate of science in nursing—registered nursing program and its first bachelor’s degree program in Aaniiih Nakoda ecology.

In addition to growing programs for students, she also implemented professional development programs for faculty and staff and grew the college’s American Indian faculty from zero percent when she began as president in 2000 to 75% at the time of her retirement in 2020, and of those, 42% were ANC graduates.

Falcon-Chandler served on the American Indian College Fund Board of Trustees from 2001-2009 and again 2012-2020 and was Chairwomen of the Board in fiscal year 2007-2008. She was named the College Fund’s President of the Year in 2009.

A passionate advocate for tribal colleges and universities, Falcon-Chandler told Montana’s Great Falls Tribune upon her retirement, “Tribal colleges are different. We teach our students in different ways so they can feel a sense of belonging.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “President Falcon Chandler was an icon of the tribally controlled education movement. She believed deeply in the brilliance and strength of Native people and was always full of caring support for her students, community, and colleagues. She was a visionary who fulfilled her commitment to her people through investment in language restoration, the sharing of cultural knowledge, and support of the arts. We pray for her spirit to have a good journey to be with our ancestors and offer our joyful memories of her to her loved ones and community as they send her on her way.”

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