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A Brief History of Leech Lake Tribal College

The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe established Leech Lake Tribal College by Tribal Resolution in July 1990. For two years, courses were offered in extension from the University of Minnesota at Duluth, Bemidji State University, Itasca and Brainerd Community Colleges. 

In the fall quarter of 1992, The college had its first graduate of the Associate of Arts program in Anishinaabe Language and Culture in the spring of 1993. In 1994, the college was accorded status as a Land Grant Institution by the United States Congress. Also in 1994, seventeen graduates completed their Associate of Arts degrees and Associate of Applied Science degrees. By the spring of 1995, the number of graduates had increased to twenty-four.

The college moved classrooms and administration to the former Cass Lake High School building in the fall of 1994, resulting in an increased student enrollment of 196. These students were enrolled in two year Associate of Arts transfer degree programs, or in two-year technical programs leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree, or in one-year vocational programs. 

Today, Leech Lake Tribal College (including the Red Lake Campus) includes approximately 60 faculty, staff, administrators, and 350 students. Most of our students come from the Leech Lake and Red Lake Reservations. Approximately 5% of the student population is non-Indian. The college was accredited as a post-secondary Vocational School in 1993. The college was awarded candidacy status with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2002 for its associate degree programs, and continued candidacy in 2004. Full accreditation status was granted on September 26, 2006 for the maximum initial accreditation period of five years, with no focus visits required.

Colors & Symbols for the Leech Lake Tribal College logo

By Larry P. Aitken, LLBO, Originator/author of this symbol and its meaning.

These Symbols and colors are represented as our Ojibwe World View. 

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The Turtle represents core memories within the Anishìnabe (Ojibwe) culture. 
Yellow (ozaawaag is a color that stands for eastern spiritual cardinal area of the universe.
This spiritual area brings us new information every day; new day, new life, new birth, new knowledge and new friends. 
The Pipe is one of our most sacred tools of connectivity. When the Pipe is lit, The Great Spirit hears our prayers and thoughts and therefore knows what is in our hearts. We are connected to the entire Native World as we spiritually understand its significance to us. 
The stone of the Pipe is red (miskwaa); this color represents the Western door of the universe, its gift to us is sadness and sorrow, but a little display of Creators power through thunder and lightning!
The color white (waabiskaa) represents the spirit of the South. This cardinal direction gives us the gifts of healing and community harmony. The color black (makadewaa) represent cleansing and purification as a gift to our people. The color green (ozhaawashkwaa) (which also includes blue, (oghaawaskwaa) represents mother earth (maarnaa a kil) and the four orders, which are, soil, plants, animals and humans as well as the sky (ispiming) and its four upper Worlds including, Creators World, Star World, Sun and Moon World and Earth World.

Thus, the Anishinabe/Oiibwe world view is depicted in part of the logo.