Ed Parisian wants to get an inside look into Haskell Indian Junior College, one of the two post-secondary Native American schools he oversees from Washington, D.C.
Parisian, deputy to the assistant secretary-director of the Office of Indian Education, is in Lawrence today to visit with Haskell officials about long-range goals for the Bureau of Indian Affairs college.
During breakfast this morning, he said he planned to take a casual tour of the Haskell campus while here on his first visit to Lawrence since taking the job about eight months ago.
"I want to get to most of the bureau schools," said Parisian, who was superintendent of schools in Rocky Boy, Mont., before his move to Washington, D.C.
HE ARRIVED in Lawrence on Thursday, coordinating his visit with Haskell's Board of Regents meeting. Today he said he hoped to meet casually with students and staff to get a better look at what's happening at the two-year school.
The regents recently announced their long-range plans, which include expanding the college to offer baccalaureate degrees to Native American students.
Parisian supports the plan and said it was a natural step for Haskell to take.
"I think it's an excellent direction for Haskell to head," he said.
He also said President Bob Martin has been invaluable to the school. Martin originally came to Haskell 12 years ago as an instructor. He returned in 1989 to serve as acting president when President Gerald Gipp left the campus.
MARTIN SERVED at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute the other BIA college for eight years.
Parisian said he thinks Martin is doing a good job at Haskell.
"He grasped what was happening right away," he said. "He's been very instrumental in establishing Haskell's long-range goals. I think he's doing well."
Both he and Martin are crossing their fingers that Congress will soon reach a budget resolution. In August, the Bush administration ordered federal agencies to draw up plans to cut spending by 31.9 percent in the event mandatory budget cuts are required to ease the national deficit.
Haskell's own budget has been approved by the House, but the Senate hasn't yet approved the budget for fiscal year 1991, which begins Oct. 1.
PARISIAN SAID budget cuts would be severely detrimental to Native American education.
"I just have high hopes that they'll come to some sort of agreement," he said. "It would be devastating to our school system."
But Parisian said he has seen increased awareness at the Congressional level about the need for quality Native American education.
"I've found that we really have some good schools in the bureau," Parisian said. "One of our main goals is to raise academic achievement by the year 2000."
Meanwhile, the Haskell Indian football team will be trying to boost its athletic achievement during this weekend's homecoming game against Kemper Military School and College. The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Haskell's stadium.