140619_HER07_27Henrietta Mann

Age: 80
Hometown: Weatherford
Cause: Native American education

After nearly four decades as a college professor teaching Native American studies, Mann retired in 2006 and returned home to Oklahoma. Tired of seeing Native American youth fail to progress in education and careers, she founded the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College in Weatherford. CATC provides low-cost education and career training and has served hundreds of students from 17 tribes. Housed on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, CATC is aimed at giving Native Americans culturally based degrees such as tribal administration and children’s education; the hope is that they can apply their learning to careers in local government or schools, or to institutions dedicated to Native Americans, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Mann is also working to increase enrollment, add additional degree programs and extend distance-learning programs.

Says Mann:

All the degrees prepare them to return to their communities to help others. It’s a pay-it-forward situation.”

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