MARQUETTE, Mich.— Northern Michigan University alumnus and current graduate student Aaron Payment has been appointed by President Barack Obama as a member of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. He also serves as tribal chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
“This appointment will provide me a forum to advocate for all of Indian education,” Payment said. “In my role, I will advise the Secretary of Education on Title VII Indian Education funding in the public schools, Johnson O'Malley funding at the tribal level, Impact Aid funding and other Indian educational issues.”
Payment previously earned a bachelor’s degree and a master of public administration (MPA) degree from Northern. He is completing two additional programs through NMU’s School of Education, Leadership and Public Service: the master’s in educational administration with an American Indian emphasis; and an education specialist degree. Payment also is pursuing a doctorate from Central Michigan University with a dissertation titled, “Factors Affecting Native American Educational Outcomes at a Midwestern University.”
“I can attest to the great quality of education at NMU,” he said. “The efforts of several professors helped to shape my learning as a returning student. I also need to put in a plug for the Center for Native American Studies, which was invaluable in providing academic and moral support. The staff and faculty there make all the difference in the world, and I will rely heavily on Martin Reinhardt and April Lindala [both of the center] for input in my new appointment to the Obama administration.”
Payment served on the board of one of Northern’s charter schools, the Joseph K. Lumsden Bahweting Anishnabe Public School Academy in Sault Ste. Marie, from 1998-2003, with the final three years as president. He also worked as a dean's assistant in the Dean of Students’ Office and minority retention coordinator at NMU from 1989-90, according to the press release announcing recent Obama appointments.