Tribal College Press has announced the publication of "Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings: The Tribal College and World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium Poems" by longtime tribal college educator and leader Tom Davis.

Thirty years ago, Davis began writing poems about the tribal college movement, beginning with the founding of College of Menominee Nation in Northern Wisconsin. He had no intention of developing a book out of the poems, using napkins and scraps of paper to create a mostly free verse poetry that chronicled the events and people trying to build a new kind of educational system that would preserve and evolve Indigenous language, history, and culture. Davis gave these poems away and many were lost. Until now.

"Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings" is a new kind of narrative poetry, an informal history of the tribal college movement and the World Indigenous Higher Education Consortium told through poetic verse. It captures the dreams and vision of Indigenous leaders in higher education. It tells their story, illuminating how two great movements set out to change the world and succeeded in a multitude of ways, both big and small.

"Whether recording moments of laughter or times of monumental change, Tom's lyrical words are enriching and reaffirming reminders of the complex histories that are the tribal college and Indigenous higher education movements," said Carrie Billy (Diné), president and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium

Davis has had a long career in American Indian education, serving in leadership roles at College of Menominee Nation, Lac Courtes Oreilles Ojibwe College, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, Little Priest Tribal College, and Navajo Technical University. His novel, "In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams," won the Edna Ferber Fiction Award in 2019, and he is the author of two book-length epic poems, "The Weirding Storm, A Dragon Epic" and "An American Spirit, An American Epic." His acclaimed nonfiction book, "Sustaining the Forest, the People, and the Spirit," focuses on the sustainable development history and practices of the Menominee Indians of Northern Wisconsin.

An imprint of Tribal College Journal, the publication of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, Tribal College Press serves as the academic press for the nation's 37 tribal colleges and universities. Interdisciplinary, but grounded in American Indian studies, TCP publishes books pertaining to tribal colleges or which are authored by tribal college faculty, students, and leaders.

For more information on TCP or to order a copy of "Meditation on Ceremonies of Beginnings," visit

Trending Video

Recommended for you