Tiger gives first hand account of TU program

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Muscogee (Creek) Nation News. By Sterling Cosper, Reporter

OKMULGEE - Muscogee (Creek) citizen, Cynthia Tiger, is completing her last semester in the Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law (MJIL) program offered by The University of Tulsa College of Law and Concord Law School of Kaplan University. According to TU's website, TU and Concord Law began offering the MJIL, a 30-credit hour online program in August 2011. This co-venture between the universities is available for college graduates whose career or projected career path involves tribal government or businesses and for lawyers seeking to expand their practice or expertise. Tiger works directly with tribes and hopes to utilize her MJIL to further her business, "Tiger 2 Tiger," which provides grant writing, project management, needs assessment and cost benefit analysis services. "What I do basically is; I'm a consultant," she said. Having completed the majority of her degree requirements, Tiger is working on her master's thesis involving economic stimulus for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and hopes to go on to law school once she obtains her MJIL. Tiger says she has been very pleased with the program. "I like the structure. When you're a mature adult, you've got grown kids, you're a community member and involved in your culture, you can pretty much do all that and school," she said. The online format allowed Tiger to take classes without committing to a set schedule. "If you can't make a class, they archive it and you can go and watch it. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and listen to a lecture," she said. She also commented on the assistance she received with her course work. "They even provided us with a tutor," Tiger said. Tiger feels that a greater overall understanding of Indian Law is important for Native Americans. "If we could educate more judges, senators you know; if we could just get an Indian in the Supreme Court with our view point," she said. She does, however, feel like there has been some progress. "With the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the White House Tribal Nations Conference it seems like there is a lot of things coming together but it has taken a long time to get there," Tiger said. Tiger has been on her own personal journey and has already obtained an undergraduate degree in economics and a graduate degree in public health. "Everything I'm working toward is based on prayers I said. I couldn't be doing this without help from the creator. It all ties into me wanting to help my people," she said.

Heather Rahhal