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Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering


Photo of Dr. Sean Chandler, an American Indian scientist standing in front of a tribal nations mural.

Dr. Sean Chandler
Aaniiih Nakoda College
P.O. Box 159
Harlem, MT 59526

Term: 02/01/2024 – 01/30/2027

Dr. Sean Chandler, an enrolled member of the Aaniinen (Gros Ventre Nation), is the President of Aaniiih Nakoda College (ANC) located on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in north-central Montana.  Since 2002, Sean has been employed with ANC, serving mostly as an Instructor and Director of American Indian Studies (AIS), until 2017 when he began to fill the role of Dean of Academics and later as President in 2020.  

With only a couple AIS courses within the college, ANC hired Sean to develop an AIS stand-alone degree, which in 2004, an Associate of Arts in American Indian Studies was established.  During his time as Instructor of AIS, he worked with Aaniiih and Nakoda elders to learn and record their stories and also restored ANC’s tribal archives to become a secure place to house documents and artifacts.  Additionally, while performing his AIS duties, he also instructed the Aaniiih (Gros Ventre) Language to grade school aged children within ANC’s White Clay Immersion School. 

Sean has played a major role in contributing to the identity of ANC, in terms of developing the foundation of all degree programs, as well as the physical look of the campus to reflect the Lifeways of the Aaniiih and Nakoda People. 

Awards and honors that Sean has received include the Kellogg Minority Leadership Fellowship in 2005, Mellon Foundation Faculty Career Advancement Fellowship from the American Indian College Fund in 2011, American Indian College Fund Faculty Member of the Year for Aaniiih Nakoda College in 2012 and in 2018, Sean received the Montana Indian Education Association’s Indian Educator of the Year Award.

Sean is also a nationally known artist and has always been involved in art, starting at an early age when his father taught him the traditional arts of his ancestors, including hide and tipi painting. Integrating those early teachings, Sean voices his own style to communicate the contemporary life he lives. His artwork has been acquired by private collectors and museum collections such as, the Minneapolis Institute of Art of Minneapolis, MN, Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, MT, Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, IN and the Missoula Art Museum in Missoula, MT. Most recently, Sean was selected as one of five artists for the 2023 Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship of the Eiteljorg Museum.

In 2016, Dr. Chandler was appointed to the Montana Arts Council (MAC) and is currently in his second term. Within MAC, he serves on the Executive, Poet Laurette, Education and Folk and Traditional Arts Committees.  In 2022, he was appointed to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA), an agency that advocates for all state arts agencies.  At NASAA, Sean serves on the Nominating and Development Committees and is a co-chair NASAA’s Circle of Advisors, a committee to strategize and find best practices to build meaningful relationships between state arts agencies and Native communities.  Sean is also a Community Voice on the National Folklife Network, an initiative to build the capacity of cultural heritage organizations and strengthen folk and traditional arts infrastructure.

Since the Fall of 2020, Dr. Chandler has been President of ANC.  During this time, he has developed an Associate of Arts in Aaniiih Nakoda Language and has signed the Buffalo Treaty: A Treaty of Cooperation, Renewal and Restoration, on behalf of ANC, to become the first educational institution in the United States to become a signatory.   

Sean acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Art in 1997, as well as a Master of Arts in Native American Studies in 2003 from Montana State University-Bozeman.  In 2014, he attained a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from The University of Montana with his dissertation entitled, “The Identity of Indigenous Lifeways.”