Carol Minugh Oral History Interview


Carol Minugh Oral History Interview
22 September 2017
Carol Minugh
Anthony Zaragoza
extracted text
Carol Minugh
Interviewed by Anthony Zaragoza
The Evergreen State College oral history project
September 22, 2017

Zaragoza: Carol, just start by telling me your name, and a little bit about where you are from.
Minugh: My name is Carol Minugh, and I’m from Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana. I grew
up there.
Zaragoza: Do you want to tell us a little bit about your early life there on the reservation?
Minugh: [Chuckles] My early life. I went to school in a public school in Dodson. My parents
were very concerned; both of them had gone to Indian boarding school, and they didn’t want
us to. When they had a line for food at the cafeteria, and the Indians got one thing and the
white kids got something else, my mother would always say, “Well, they’re more concerned
about your diet than they are about those other kids’.” It was commodities that we had, but
my parents made sure that we felt that we were proud of who we were.
Zaragoza: Do you want to say anything about your parents? Do you want to talk about your
parents a little bit?
Minugh: Oh, I can talk a little bit about them. My parents were a unique couple. They married
when they were very young. My Dad ran away from school when he was in the 6tth grade, my
mother was sent home to take care of her mother when she was 13. They lived on a very
isolated part of the reservation. The reservation is high desert, and so it’s not a very productive
place to live. Two children died when they were very young. I was the second from the
bottom. There were originally ten of us, five girls and five boys. My oldest brother was my
mother’s half- brother they took him when he was about 3 years old after the death of their
My parents made things happen. He brought the American Legion to Dodson. When
they said there were no rolls for the Gros Ventre Tribe. My dad went to Washington, D. C. and
stayed there until he found those rolls. There is a big news article about him finding those rolls

for the Tribe. They became active in the Farmers Union. Mom as education director and Dad
worked through political action. My dad worked as a janitor during the state legislative session,
he said he knew more about what was happening that way. Paul Robison {an internationally
known singer and civil rights activist} Eleanor Roosevelt, Robert Burns and Robert Service were
our hero’s, poetry was a part of everyday life. My great aunt taught us about our People. She
was also an activist making changes in the health care for the People. She was instrumental in
bringing a library to Dodson, a community of 300 people.
Zaragoza: What year is that, Carol?
Minugh: Oh, my goodness. That was probably in 39, ’43, something like that. My dad also
worked with the miners in Butte to help them get healthcare. And at one point, he was
working with a lawyer in Butte, and he called this lawyer and his wife said, “Hang up, Mac!
Don’t call back!” The election was the next day, and the lawyer had been arrested for being a
Communist, and they didn’t want him to get elected. He was released after the election.
But my dad was probably on the edge of always being called a Communist. He worked
very hard for causes that were important.
We didn’t have much, we weren’t poor. Poor was not having both parents. We all had
to work. We were taught through example to make sure to take care of our own and be of help
to those who had needs.
At one point, the federal government decided that they weren’t going to allow the payment for
schooling to go to the public schools anymore, so everyone on the reservation went to boarding
school, but we didn’t. We moved across the river so that we could go to public school.
Zaragoza: Is there some formidable event, something that helped to shape who you are in this
early period of your life?
Minugh: Oh, yes. So much. Throughout, education is my way of saying it was the biggest rip
off for Indians there ever was. We were educated to think about ourselves as substandard
people. What was in the books was often written in a way that would put bias against Indians,
and not tell the truth. When I was a junior in high school, we had moved out here to
Washington, and I had to take Washington State history. There were some definite things in
Washington State history that weren’t true, and I raised hell about it at that time.

So, objecting to what was written in books, and what was written about Native people,
was probably a part of my “who I am” from a very early, early age. When my kids were going to
school, my daughter wrote a paper that had to do with Native people, turned it in, and the
teacher said, “This is not true.” He and I had a little “head-to-head”—he ended up saying, “I
used to work for the BIA. I know what’s true!” Well, he didn’t know what was true, but he
graded her down for it.
So, my fighting against education, and the education system that had abused my people
so much, was an integral part of who I was at a very young age.
Zaragoza: Did this continue into your time in college and graduate school?
Minugh: Oh, yeah. My children were all growing up, my oldest son and I started college
together. We were freshmen at Grays Harbor College.
Immediately, I started working with ensuring that Native students had an opportunity at
Grays Harbor College and started working with the tribes. One of the really wonderful things
that happened, the first time I went out to Quinault. I was going to be a right-to-read teacher,
and was being introduced to the community—one of the community members stood up and
said, “You don’t have to introduce Carol Hart to me. She used to serve me my soup. When my
kids were growing up, I worked in a restaurant, and I was so thrilled when Indian people would
come into the restaurant. The tribes here have given me such a wonderful welcome. It has
always been so warm for me, knowing that this is the place I should be.
Zaragoza: After Grays Harbor, where did you go to school?
Minugh: I graduated from Evergreen.
Zaragoza: What year did you graduate from Evergreen?
Minugh: Boy, that’s a good question. Hmm. I think probably ’73 or ’74.
Zaragoza: ’73?
Minugh: It would be ’73, yeah. I had some prior learning, and so I got some credits for that. I
was offered a head resident position over at Washington State for my master’s. One of the
professors there helped me get that. I had all my credits and everything, but after I was at
Washington State for a little while, and in the master’s program, we realized that I never


graduated from Evergreen. I had prior learning credits that I didn’t know I had to pay tuition
I called the registrar, I forget what the man’s name was, I should remember it—I told
him that I didn’t have the money to pay for the credits. He says, “Hold on.” He called the
financial aid office, and they said there was no way they could help me. He came back and he
told the financial aid, “I will take care of Carol.” I graduated from Evergreen probably at least
six, seven months after I had left.
But the part of Evergreen was, or is, that it really worked with people. I never once, in
all the years that I worked there—and this is later on—I never once felt that people were telling
me, “Well, that’s not my responsibility. You go to somebody else.” There was always that help
there, I appreciate that about Evergreen. I appreciate lots of things about Evergreen.
Zaragoza: Tell us a little bit more about those early days, the early days, really, of the college.
What was it like? What was your impression?
Minugh: Well, I was not at Evergreen very often, because I was enrolled in the Native American
Studies program, and had a contract, I was teaching Native American Studies at Grays Harbor
College with another faculty. The other faculty was actually the teacher, but I was the one that
did the organizing, and putting information together and everything. I earned my degree by
doing this. I was at Evergreen very rarely. When Mary Hillaire had meetings at Evergreen, I
would be there. So, I didn’t really have that much to do with the actual campus.
Zaragoza: Is this Mary Hillaire you’re talking about?
Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: What was your work like with her? Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Minugh: I had the contract to develop the Native American Studies at Grays Harbor College,
and that’s what I did for the upper division of my undergraduate degree. Mary was just 100
percent behind me, and I had great support.
One of the things that happened during that time was a rather interesting thing. There
was a State grant that was available for Native programs. It was $15,000, which was a lot of
money at that time. Grays Harbor was applying for it, and the person who was responsible for
putting the proposal together had my name on it. When it came back funded, I looked at it. I

never had any idea what he was writing, but the only thing in that proposal that would go to
Indians was $500 for me to travel.
I guess I kind of blew up. Was encouraged to go to the president, which I did. The
vocational director constantly said to me, “I hope you’re happy now.” Because the
administration sent it back. The State guy said to me, “Your name was on it, so I thought it was
valid and I never even read it.” They rewrote the proposal and it was funded. It was typical of
what was happening in the world at that time.
While I was at Washington State, I was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship, which was to
encourage Native Americans to be administrators in colleges. So, I went to Arizona as the
assistant to the president of Central Arizona Community College, and also began my doctoral
program at Arizona State.
I had very, very good experiences while I was there, and some interesting ones. The
Director of a program at Penn State came to an education conference in Phoenix. I went, and I
heard him talk about this program at Penn State. So, I went and talked to him and he said,
“Well, you’re too late, but go ahead and send your application in anyway. You never can tell.”
I kind of sent in a half-assed application. Didn’t have half the information that they
wanted on it. Anyway, when I was up at Navajo Community College developing personnel
policies for Navajo Community College, Penn State called and asked me if I would complete my
application. I said, “I’m sorry. This is just not possible for me to do, after I finish this, then I’m
headed for Washington. My youngest daughter is graduating from high school, my oldest
daughter is getting married, and I don’t have time to do this.”
In the meantime, Arizona State had offered me a position as assistant to the director of
Native American Studies. I wasn’t excited about the position.
Zaragoza: You weren’t the assistant, you were the director. [laughing]
Minugh: No, I didn’t do anything. I said, “Knowing me, I would have done all kinds of stuff, and
I wouldn’t be getting the emphasis on my doctorate.” But I didn’t make that decision until I got
up to Washington State. While I was there for my daughter’s graduation and my other
daughter’s wedding, I got a call from Penn State, and they offered me a Fellowship, which
included all of my tuition and housing and all of my expenses for college at Penn State.

I tried not to let people know that this was happening, because this was my daughters’
celebrations. This wasn’t my celebration. But after the phone call, I just had to laugh. I mean, I
just sat on the floor and laughed, because this was impossible. It was unreal that I would
receive that. Anyway, that’s how I got into Penn State.
Zaragoza: Is that where you did your Ph.D.?
Minugh: My D Ed.
Zaragoza: And that Ed D was in what?
Minugh: Higher Education Administration.
Zaragoza: Anything from that period, being at Penn State, that you think would be important?
Minugh: Well, I guess the biggest thing that I fully understood at Penn State is that I am a visual
I also gained a lot from the fellow students. If you look around on my wall, you’ll see things
that come from—the Navajo rug over there, a young Navajo couple who were at Penn State, his
mother made that. They came to Penn State from college to get a master’s degree, and they
couldn’t write. They couldn’t put together a paper, and so they asked me if I would help them.
So, I helped them learn to write.
But the funniest thing that happened with that couple was I fixed a big pot of stew one
time and sent it home with them, and his folks came and visited. His folks didn’t speak English,
they spoke only Navajo, they were so thrilled that they had this pot. It was important to his
parents that they had a pot—a big pot—to cook in.
You know, there are so many little things that you do that you don’t know how
important they are to somebody else; how much things mean. And I think that probably I never
put out a great deal of effort for things, but, you know, when a friend of mine—the guy who
made the Oho over there—when he was getting ready to take his Oral exams He wanted to go
home. He just was going to quit. And he came and talked to me, and I said, “Don’t talk to me
about it. You call your wife. The rest of her life will be affected by your decision.” He did, and
he talked to her for 10 hours that night. She later thanked me for that. He passed the exam.
But, as I say, it isn’t the big things that you do, it’s the little things; that you recognize
the humanity of other people. None of the things that I have done have been big things, but to

just, when you walk by something, do the right thing. You don’t walk by something and just
leave it. You do something about it.
Penn State was an interesting time. While I was there, I had done a paper, and a friend
of mine in Washington, D.C. had showed it to the people at Ohio State. They were looking for
someone to direct a research project with Native people. So, before I finished my dissertation
at Penn State, I went to work for Ohio State, and worked with them in a research project for
five years. During that time, I visited tribes across the United States. I had, I think, seven
different tribes that I worked building bridges between State offices of Vocational Education
and the tribes. So, the opportunity that Ohio State gave me—and I have to say that opportunity
is you can be a token person or you can be a real person, and I think I was a real person; and I
think that often, they wanted a token person, and I’m not too good at being the token person.
In fact, one meeting, the people from D.C. were there, and the director of the research center
was there, and I don’t know what other biggies were there, but I exploded. My boss said, “We
can’t do everything for Indians.” I told him not only could he not do it, I didn’t want him to do
Anyway, I was a little bit—not only in that instance, but there was the instance of
another little thing that happened that was ridiculous. I was on a hiring committee for a
position that would be similar to mine, only working with vocational education with, I guess you
could say, Mexican-Americans or Chicanos--anyway, a similar position to mine, and they put
me on that committee.
We interviewed, and there was one woman who was Chicano, and she would have been
perfect for it. I started talking about how perfect she was, and I was told that they had already
decided who was going to get that position, it was a women from Italy who could speak several
different languages, and one was Spanish. So, they hired her to do similar stuff, and I said, “Get
me off of this hiring committee. I want absolutely nothing to do with it, because this is
betraying the people.” But they wanted the prestige of this person. The Chicano person did
not give them prestige.
Zaragoza: Do you care to talk about


Minugh: Well, the National Committee for Vocational Education had come to Ohio State, and
were meeting at Ohio State. And one of the people was Karen Taylor, from the Flathead
Reservation I had lived with her at Penn State. She had been nominated to this national
committee. She and I went out the night before. She said “Well, I’m going to tell everybody
that you’re my sister. The next morning, when I came to the meeting I heard “I didn’t know
that Karen was your sister.” Everybody was talking about how wonderful it was that my sister
was here.

Minugh: But that’s kind of my character. One of the things that was really fun—I mean, you
have to be a human being, and you have to understand your people to work with your people.
When we had meetings at Ohio State, and representatives from the tribes all came, and they all
had nicknames. We all have names that we call one another. They gave a few other people
nicknames, too.
But the thing was that you don’t do that kind of work without knowing the heart of the
people. The kind of work that I was doing was not something that somebody from Italy could
do because the spoke the Spanish language. That tore me up. I just can’t tell you how really
betrayed I felt over the whole thing.
Anyway, those things all contributed to me in me having, I guess you could say, the
rebellious spirit that I am. What people were doing over and over again that wasn’t right. It
didn’t provide the opportunity that should have been there.
Zaragoza: Where did you go after Ohio State?
Minugh: I came back to Washington. My grandchildren were being born, and I was missing
out, so I came back. A person in vocational education here at Washington State—had asked
me if I would consider coming back and working in the Vocational Education Department. I told
him, “I’m not a person you can look over their shoulder you have to trust me to do my work
“Oh, no, I don’t ever do that.” They recruited me to come back to Washington State. And, of
course, my kids were having babies, and that was the place I wanted to be.
Well, six months later, I found out was that my boss was taking all of my letters that
reading them, going over them before they were sent out. The way I found out that was I had

told someone that I would respond to them immediately, and he called and said, “How come
you haven’t responded?” And I thought I had. I found out that the letter was sitting on my
boss’s desk.
That morning, I told everybody in the office, “Well, there’s one of two things going to
happen. He’s going to fire me, or I’m going to quit before he fires me.” I quit before he fired
me. So, I guess I left—I had started a program for them that was a good one. He said, “Oh,
well, you don’t have to leave right away. You can stay for another month.” I said, “No, two
weeks’ notice is plenty.”
It didn’t take very long before I was asked if I would apply for a job with Day Break Star
in Seattle? Anyway, they had a contract to do research and development with the tribes in
Alaska, Oregon, Washington and Idaho, and they were looking for a director. So, I applied for
the job, I became director.
The work at Day Break Star was the basis for my work at Evergreen, I was working with
tribes all over the Pacific Northwest. I realized that it wasn’t what the white man had to say in
the books, but it was what the people already knew that they needed to gather together to
learn and build on, rather than taking somebody else’s information that was not even
appropriate or applicable to them. I realized that what the people really needed out there was
not for somebody to come in and tell them what they should be doing, but to look at what was
already part of their life and part of their history and build on it. The other thing I realized was
they wanted somebody like me, with a doctorate, to say, “This is valid knowledge.” So, I
became that.
During that stay at DBS, I had cancer, and I was out of the office for a while. The
contract that we had—with the United States government was coming up again, and I realized
that there were people in power that had already interfered with doing a good job. My staff,
during the time I was out, had gone through my desk. I did not want to be the director of those
folks any longer their disrespect for me was way beyond what I could live with, so I quit.
I went back to Montana and was visiting my folks when I received a call from Evergreen
asking me if I would consider being a visiting faculty. I wasn’t doing anything, so I might as well,
so I said, I would.

Zaragoza: What year is this, Carol?
Minugh: Well, it was probably ’87, because I had surgery in ’86 and then the following year, so
it had to ’87. I worked with the Native American Studies program. And, to my chagrin, there
was one person who I refuse to give any credit to, and another faculty gave them full credit. It’s
a violation, giving them the opportunity, asking them to come in and pay tuition, and then nut
increasing their knowledge base. This was common practice at many colleges
Zaragoza: What did you do instead, when you walked away from the Native Studies program?
Minugh: I was still teaching. That was the summer, and I had said I would not apply for the job.
Barbara Smith came to me and asked, “Why won’t you apply for this position?” I said, “I don’t
like the program. She said, “If you will apply for this position, I’ll support you to do what you
want to do here at Evergreen.”
Zaragoza: Why did you think it was not the right thing? What was being done that you felt was
. . .?
Minugh: Because people like that person were getting a degree that they didn’t have the
backup to it. And what they would end up with is applying for a job, and maybe getting the job,
but not being able to do the work because they didn’t know how to write, they didn’t know
how to think through problems
Zaragoza: Were there other things that the Native Studies program was doing that you also—
Minugh: No, that was my biggest complaint. Later on, I was on a students master’s committee,
and the Indian student was turning in his master’s paper. His writing was not even freshman
writing, and he was getting a master’s. Everybody else had approved it, I said, “No, I can’t do
this. This man is going to end up with a master’s degree, and he’s not going to be able to fulfill
the responsibilities of a job. Because you have to learn to communicate, you have to learn to
write in this world.” So, I refused, and it caused a little bit of a problem.
The result was one of the faculty, I don’t remember what his name was, said, “I will work with
this student all summer to get his writing better.” And he did. When his paper came back, it
still wasn’t a master’s-level paper, but I would never, after all of his work, refuse to give him the
okay on it. I found that to be a truth in education across the board, whether it was Native
Americans, Hispanics or African Americans, the colleges were counting heads. They graduated

people without having the skills that were necessary to achieve, and they couldn’t compete in
the labor force. That, to me, is an abomination.
Zaragoza: So, you had this conversation with Barbara Smith, where she said that if you applied
for this job, she’ll support you in what you want to do.
Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: What do you do with that opportunity?
Minugh: I guess the first thing was I worked with the Quinault Tribe during the summer to do a
workshop for their education team. It was a workshop that was—I don’t think Evergreen were
sponsoring it, but I was helping with it. So, from that point on, it was fairly easy to recognize
that there was a group of people at Quinault who wanted to get a degree. So, it was just a
natural thing to move into providing a class out at Quinault. And, of course, Quinault was a
place where, in the past years, I had some relationship with.
Through being director of the Research Center, I knew that you can’t take somebody
else’s knowledge, put it in somebody’s head, and then think that they’re educated. Because
you’ve got to build on the knowledge that people already have, build on it so this person will
become strong, rather than just dump things in their head. I’ve seen the education system
ripping off not only Native Americans, but African Americans and Chicanos, giving them
degrees without requiring the work behind it Colleges report, “We have X number of minorities
graduating this year.” It was troubling to know that education institutions were treating people
that way.
Zaragoza: So, the reservation-based program gets its start at Quinault.
Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: How do you grow it from there? How does it evolve and develop?
Minugh: By Tribe saying, “Can you come to our reservation?” But in the whole thing, it was
critical that we work with the tribal council, and get their okay to come into their community,
and their contribution to making the program work. They would donate their staff time to
come in and talk about different issues on the reservation. A staff would get comp time for
time that they would come and speak to our class, whether it was social issues, whether it was
timber, whatever it was that we were studying, we would bring in the community people. We

went out into the woods. We went out and talked to administrators, social service workers,
fishery workers and made the community the center of learning.
Not to say we didn’t get into studying academic theory and practice. Combining
community knowledge with book knowledge required earnest discussions and written reports
Zaragoza: From there, from the formation of the reservation-based program, it grows and
develops as folks invite you out . . .
Minugh: . . . to different reservations.
Zaragoza: Right. And then, what’s next? What do you develop at Evergreen after that?
Minugh: Well, the reservation-based continued for quite a few years. I was getting older, and
when I was 65, I decided that I needed to turn the reservation-based program over to
somebody else. It just so happened that just about that same time—maybe it was before I did
that—I was asked by Suzanne Cravey if there was any chance that I would help with the Native
kids that were incarcerated at Maple Lane. I had no idea what I could possibly do.
I gathered a group of Native students from the college, and I told them, “If you come along this
time, you’re going to have to make a commitment to keep on coming. We went out to Maple
Lane for the first time, and the kids that were there at the meeting were Chicano and Native
American. I told them, “I don’t have a clue of what you guys want that I could possibly
provide?” One of the boys said, “Why should we tell you what we want? People are always
asking us what we want, and they never show up again.” So, I made the commitment that I
would be back, and we would be back, if they would tell us what they wanted.
We started there with the Chicano and Native American groups, meeting and
developing the programs with these. The students from Evergreen that came were students
that were in the Native American and Chicano student groups.
Zaragoza: Native Student Alliance?
Minugh: Yes. Those were the ones that were working with us. We didn’t have a class, we
didn’t have anything. And Ricardo Leva Pueblo, in student support services went with us. He
continued to come and work with the kids until he left Evergreen.
It started that way, and we had cultural programs, and it developed into being more
than just the Native Americans. We had the Native American, Chicano and African American

groups. Then a cultural group where it was mixed, we had an opportunity to understand
different cultures, while they had their own cultural groups.
What happened then was kind of interesting, because a Native American guy came up
to me and said, “Carol, I graduated from high school and there was absolutely nothing for me
here.” I said, “Well, we can do a contract.” So, I started by doing one contract. I can see his
face, I have no idea what his name was, but he was the one that started us working on the
college program. And then there were two, and then there were three, and then there were
four. And all of these guys were on contract. Evergreen provided the opportunity. Then when
we had 10 guys, we decided it needed to be a class rather than individual contracts. So, we
started a class, but still, at the class, everybody had contracts. We didn’t make it an official
class. It wasn’t until I started teaching on campus, and left the reservation-based program, that
we started having students out of a class go out to the institution.
You know, you talk about the pushback that you have, but out in the institutions, the
staff weren’t too tickled that Evergreen was coming out there, because we were a bunch of
“druggies and hippies”. We often were accused of bringing drugs out. Never once did they find
us guilty, but we had to really watch closely that our students recognized the responsibility that
they had in going out into the institutions.
The program just developed from the need of the guys. It wasn’t by any of my design. I
didn’t design a darn thing. It was the guys. There was something that they needed, and we
could work it. So, as things went, it was just continual. We tried to make it work for the guys.
I think about one young man—there were many young men, but this one in particular.
He was a big black kid, and he couldn’t get out of the intake. Every time they brought him out
of intake, he would get in a fight. So, they put him in our program. He was in the cultural
program first. He came to me and said, “Can I come to the college program?” I replied “Well,
you know, if you’re going to come, you have to read the material, because you have to come
and be prepared to discuss the material.” “Okay.”
He came prepared to discuss the material. It wasn’t until much later I found out that he
couldn’t read, and somebody was reading this to him, so he was always prepared. One day, we
had a lockdown, and he was in the group. There was a young man there that was determined

to get him into a fight. It was very clear that he was determined to irritate this kid enough to
make him fight.
The security person and I watched this, and that boy walked away. Not once did he indicate
that he was going to fight. I don’t know whatever happened to that young man after he left,
but I do know that he was able to stand, and he was able to not allow somebody to get him into
a fight, which had been his history. You know, maybe that’s not what we were supposed to be
doing but to watch them overcome was pure joy. I suspect that that was the greatest joy
watching kid after kid after kid become something that they didn’t know they could be. And I
think that that’s the joy of the Gateways program still today. I’m sure it is.
Zaragoza: Are there examples of this other story that you might want to tell to illustrate this
quest for education you saw among the young men at Maple Lane and Green Hill?
Minugh: Well, you know, there were some that quested, and there were some that stood with
their feet firm and weren’t about to. I think about [Terrence Turner. He wasn’t about to come
into our program. And he was a bad egg, as far as the institution was concerned. Susanne
Cravey was sure he should come into the program, and she kept at him until he finally came.
That boy, when he had the opportunity to lay out a plan for his life, through the studies
that we were doing, he did that, and he followed it when he got out. I think that watching him,
watching him have goals, watching him see that he could accomplish things that he never
dreamt that he could accomplish, that he could move to the next step. And I think that the
whole idea of having goals is so important, regardless of who you are. But Terrence was a really
good example of that.
Zaragoza: Terrence went on to graduate from Evergreen.
Minugh: There were so many. I think about this one man at Green Hill, this young man. I
always think about him, as he was a pimp, and he’d been a pimp since he was about 11 years
old. He was, a big, black kid. I’ll never forget the day there was a lockdown and we were
playing some music, and I said “C’mon, let’s dance!” He was so surprised that I wanted to
dance with him. This young man called me after he got out and he said, “Carol, I want you to
know that I have a job, and I’m married, and I have a child.” Was it that I danced with him that


time that made him feel like a real human being, or what? But he did, and it was important
enough for him to call me after we got out to tell me what he was doing.
Going to the reservation-based program, I think of one student from Makah that had a
terrible time writing. She just had a terrible time writing, and she wanted to quit the program.
“Oh, no, you can’t do that. You’re going to stay.” So, she did. She published a book after she
got graduated.
You know, it’s what do we do for people that feel like they can’t do something? And I
think that so many of the kids that are incarcerated, don’t see an open door ahead of them.
And so, we have to help them to see those doors, and help them to see that they have a right
to pass through them, and they can be respected.
You know, there’s so many, so many. I don’t remember them all. I remember a few
really good because they were so unusual. The day the boy came to me and said, “I want
something beyond high school, and there’s nothing here for me.” That’s a joy that I had, to be
able to help him get an opportunity. And I think that probably, if I were to think about it, there
were many like that.
Zaragoza: Throughout, you’ve been talking a little bit about your educational philosophy. I’m
curious, what influenced your educational philosophy, your pedagogy? What, or who, or how
did you develop this perspective?
Minugh: You mean my orneriness? What is my perspective, Tony?
Zaragoza: Your educational philosophy that I’ve been hearing you talk about—whether it’s
with the reservation-based program, or whether it’s about Gateways—has been about building
off of people, the knowledge that they have, and building off of the gifts that they have. I’m
curious how you developed set of understandings with respect to education.
Minugh: Well, I don’t know this, but I suspect it goes back to my own kids. I was not a single
mother, but a single mother. My husband was not necessarily there, but he was there. So, my
kids were on their own a lot, and so I trusted them. We’ve talked about how I learned to trust
them during their teenage years, and how when they had a problem, they didn’t mind coming
to me and talking to me about their problems. The whole thing of believing that you can do


something; that you are capable, and maybe you don’t know that you are capable. But I can’t
give you your capabilities.
Otherwise, in a way, I think it was my own struggles. I had a pretty rough life. I had a
bad marriage, and four kids, and working in a restaurant supporting the kids more or less by
myself. Coming out of that, and finding how to build a life, in many ways, it was faith that
things could go forward. Because I didn’t design anything. I didn’t have a clue that I would ever
end up with a doctorate. it happened because the door was there, and I walked through it.
Maybe it was because I didn’t have another opportunity that I walked through it. Maybe it was
because I was desperate. But I think it has a lot to do with that.
And then, recognizing that all my education was so anti-Indian. The whole education
system was just set up to denigrate Native people, and I think that recognizing that this was
missing from the education system. I suppose black folks and Chicano folks experienced the
same thing. I don’t think it was any different. So, you have that kind of thing, that you know
that there’s knowledge there. You know that there’s knowledge there that’s not being used,
and you have to get into it. So, I think that it has something to do with that.
When I worked with the students at Evergreen, and I was teaching writing, I had AfricanAmerican students that were having a hard time passing, and people were telling me that they
weren’t going to pass them because they couldn’t write. And I found that these students were
thinking in a different pattern. They weren’t doing the linear thinking, and so when these
students, whether they were African American or Native American—Native Americans think in
circles, and I’m not sure, I can’t tell you how African Americans traditionally think, but I do
know that the language is different. And so, when you’re forced to write in an English language
you don’t use, it’s very hard. So, I would have the students start with the English language that
they used. And then, they could switch to linear with little problem. But they had to have pride
in what they already had, what they already knew.
With the Native students, that was very clear to me, because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen
these students struggling and struggling with writing. It came down to the fact that they were
circular thinkers, and we had to write in linear ways. I suspect that that’s all part of what we’re
talking about, is recognizing those differences. Hmm. I’m talking an awful lot.

Zaragoza: That’s the point. [chuckles] Let me ask you another question. Evergreen has meant
to challenge some of the basic assumptions about the dominant education system that you had
issue with—the white supremacist, the colonialist, the capitalist education system that has
been part of this country from the beginning. Evergreen sought to oppose that, but at the
same time, it’s still in that world. So, I’m wondering what obstacles you faced in doing the work
that you were trying to do that reminded you of that dominant education system that you had
come out of.
Minugh: I think that one of the things that you mistake in that statement that you made, every
faculty at Evergreen went through one of these other institutions and was taught to teach that
way. So, you have this conflict of people wanting to do what they were taught to do. You
almost, in order to be really effective at Evergreen—my opinion—you have to be a rebel. You
have to say, “No, we’re going to make sure that people think about what it is that we’re saying,
not just accept, because it’s written in the book, not just accept because I say it.” But there are
a lot of people at Evergreen that still expect you to do what they say, and Evergreen isn’t free of
that. Never has been.
So, the rebel element of Evergreen is—you know, when you’re taught to think, and not
accept just what somebody who’s taught has said—you get an A if you just repeat back to the
teacher the same thing that they said. But when you’re taught to examine things, and to make
sure that what you’re reading has some validity, or what you’re talking about has some
validity—because unfortunately, some of our greatest books were written without a great deal
of concern about bias. Authors of books, no matter who they are, including me, bring their
biased opinion into the book.
If we, as faculty, don’t point that out, if we aren’t willing to say, “Wait a minute. This
person wrote this in 1935, and there were all of these problems, and they were in the midst of
all of that. And we have to look at it within that time period, and examine it.” I always think
about one author that I picked, a Native American writer who was well known, but he wrote a
book early in his career about the Pacific Northwest, the tribes, and it had a lot of errors in it.
I used that book again and again, because I wanted my students to look at it, and see
that any author can make big mistakes like that. We don’t accept something, just because it’s

printed it’s the truth, even if it’s our best friend that wrote it, or the person that we admire
most who wrote it. Because this particular author was somebody who was greatly admired, but
he wrote it in his young years, and there were many errors in it. I think that, perhaps, is part of

Zaragoza: We were talking about the ways in which Evergreen—despite the fact that it’s trying
to be different—can’t help but continue some of the things, or many of the things that are part
of this dominant culture.
Minugh: Yes, because we all went through those institutions, and so we emulate who our
people were before us. Unfortunately, it’s hard, particularly coming into Evergreen, because
you have to teach interdisciplinary, you have to develop new curriculum all the time, and you
have to find out that you have to think differently than you have been taught to think.
I think about my son—he’s an engineer—and he says, “The best people we hire are from
Evergreen, because they know how to think in broader perspectives.”
You know the saying that there are many people at Evergreen who want to be the same
as the institutions, because it’s so much easier to teach in another institution than it is at
Evergreen? Evergreen is not an easy place to teach.
Zaragoza: Do you want to pause here for a second?
Minugh: Yeah, let’s pause for a second.
[End Part 1 of 3 of Carol Minugh on September 22, 2017]
Zaragoza: Okay, Carol. I want to go into some areas that we haven’t talked about yet. You
were also part of the Native American Research Center. Maybe tell us the actual name and talk
to us a little bit about that project also.
Minugh: Boy, I don’t remember the place, but how it started was that I had been to Highlander
and had recognized I never knew anything about participatory research until I went to
Highlander. I guess that’s what I was doing all the time was getting information from people
and using it for their own community.
But I had wanted that to be what the research center would do, to do participatory
research. We hired Alan Parker, who had been head of a research center at George

Washington University before, and I thought that would be a good thing. Evergreen loved it,
because he also was a big name in Indian country.
So, he came and did some work, and got some grants and things. The sad thing was that
he never really bought into participatory research. Participatory research was not his bailiwick
at all, it was mine, and it was my ideas, and you can’t transfer your ideas to somebody else and
say, “Do it!” It doesn’t work that way.
The research center did all right for a while, and Alan got people together, and he got
people Maori and different places—Native people together—and did some work on Indian
education. But I didn’t follow it as closely as I could have. I kind of lost interest when it failed
to do the participatory research thing. I suspected that it would not be what I had planned, so I
guess I just faded away.
Zaragoza: Do you have a sense of your working definition of participatory research?
Minugh: My working definition of participatory research is that the people have the
knowledge, so you don’t go in there with your ideas about the research. You go in and start the
people developing the knowledge and helping them to draw it out of themselves. So, this
knowledge comes from them, rather than from the outside. The conclusions and everything
have got to come from the people, not from some person like myself, or a research person.
They’ve got to come from the people looking at their knowledge that is gathered together, and
then conclusions can be drawn—by them, not by you. I think that’s how I see participatory
research. Does that make sense?
Zaragoza: Yeah, and you mentioned visiting Highlander. Could you tell us a little bit about your
visits to Highlander—what they experience was like, how it shaped you as a teacher and
community organizer?
Minugh: Well, that was kind of a fluke, I guess you could say. Russ Fox had a connection with
Highlander, and he told John Gaventa—who was then the Director of Highlander about me and
what I was doing. So, John Gaventa, sent me to Nicaragua as part of a group of people from
I got acquainted with some people from Highlander in Nicaragua, and then I never
connected with them again until, it must have been ’96—and I’m not sure just when it was, but

it seems like it was about ‘96—when Highlander awarded me the Myles Horton Chair, and so I
was invited to come down and be a guest at Highlander for three months. So, I went to
Highlander and lived with Helen Lewis, which is a wonderful experience in itself, just getting to
know that lady, but also being part of all of the stuff that was happening there, and seeing how
that, in these meetings, the communities would come together, and work on identifying what
their issues were, and how they were going to go about working toward resolving them.
Whether they were communities from Atlanta, Georgia, or whether they were from Timbuktu,
they would come to Highlander, and be encouraged to look at these things from their point of
view, not from somebody outside’s point of view. We visited various places, and I saw people
who had benefited from learning how to use their own knowledge rather than taking
somebody else’s knowledge and applying it. I think that’s what Highlander did for me.
I think that it also provided me with some great friends. I get together with them every
year. We’re getting old, and some of us are dying off, but the opportunity to be around people
who have more or less dedicated their lives to change, and seeing the changes made from the
people’s perspective rather than the outside perspective, I think that that’s what I gained from
Highlander. And a lot of love. A lot of love.
Zaragoza: This perspective you brought back to Evergreen—you had already had it, in many
ways, but it kept being strengthened with this connection with those folks . . .
Minugh: Yeah.
Zaragoza: . . . and with Highlander—how did it come back into your program? Did it influence
the kinds of things that you were teaching, or your approaches to the programs that you were
working in?
Minugh: It probably didn’t affect programs as much as, you know, when somebody says to
you, “Amen, brother!” Meaning that you’re doing right. I think that’s what Highlander did for
me was told me that I was doing right; that in allowing other people to guide things, rather than
me guiding them. The Gateways program was never guided by me, it was guided by those
youth, and what they wanted and what their needs were. I think that, like I say, it was more of
an “Amen, brother.” And me finding those words. I had never known those words. It was a
wonderful affirmation of my work. And I suspect that’s why I got the Horton Chair.

Zaragoza: What were some memorable programs for you over the time that you taught and
worked at Evergreen?
Minugh: Oh, dear. I couldn’t tell you memorable programs. I think that one of the things
about me is that somebody says, “Well, don’t you have papers that you wrote?” No, I don’t. I
came to class asking questions. I didn’t come to class with the idea that I would lecture.
Somebody had a question about something, I might help them understand it, but I didn’t
lecture in the class. I don’t think that was my way of teaching. My way of teaching was
drawing out of people. And maybe when they had a problem with understanding something,
then I could help build on that. But to lecture in a class was never my way. My friend, Helen
Lewis, says, “Well, what about your lectures?” “I don’t do any lectures.”
I think that whole idea that the knowledge wasn’t my knowledge that needed to be
distributed, it was everybody else’s knowledge. And it was the knowledge that people were
building, and getting constantly and building on, that was important to water and fertilize,
rather than mine. So, I think that I was just fortunate to have that kind of a head set. And I
think that it’s an important head set, to know to ask questions of the students, rather than
having answers. Make them do the thinking. Make them develop their way of looking at
Zaragoza: What about memorable students? Are there folks that come readily to mind?
Minugh: I kind have always liked those rebels, the people who are out of step with everybody
else. Justine James was one. I had the hardest time keeping him in college. But he graduated,
and he also wrote a book. He also wrote a chapter in a book. I think he is a memorable
I probably didn’t pay that much attention, because I was on to something else all the
time. There was always another field to plow, and so I didn’t watch and see what was
happening behind me. And yet, I know that my students became—you know, I would hear over
and over again that one of my students became the chairman of their tribe, or one of my
students did this and did that. But I probably didn’t follow it as much because I was on to
something else. There were new students, there were new challenges, there were new ways


that I needed to do. And so, I guess, I always felt that when I walked, then it was theirs; it
wasn’t mine anymore. Tony
Zaragoza: Yeah, we both remember Tony.
Minugh: He was an African-American student, and he came to me and he didn’t like to read.
Joyce Stalmer sent him to me, because she had a habit of sending me students that were
having problems.
Anyway, he came and he learned how to read—I should say, learned to like reading. We
talked a lot, and he also did more writing. He was with the basketball team, he brought
another one of the basketball students over, and I worked with him.
Zaragoza: Yeah, Nate.
Minugh: And I worked with him. And the coach came over one time and he said, “I wish you
were on our staff.” But, you know, it was the same story. These kids had never had the
challenge of an education, because they graduated without having to do these things. And
maybe they wouldn’t have graduated if somebody had said, “You have to learn to do these
But Tony, it amazes me that he got a master’s degree. I mean, that guy, I had to start
him out with funny books. But he did it.
I think that the students that were in my writing class. I started this group because
Joyce Sthamer was sending me people with problems, and I was doing that in addition to
whatever else I was doing. But teaching students to write what they know, rather than writing
what they don’t know. And then, watching them take you might say, community language, and
the understanding it and moving forward.
Zaragoza: We talked about Tony, and Nate.
Minugh: Yeah. I’ll think about one Native American student who I explained to her about the
circular thinking, and it was just like a big lightbulb went in her head, and then she could
understand why she was having a problem. And, as she understood it, then she was able to
write both in the circular, so she could communicate with her own community, but also, in the
linear, so she could communicate with the white community. And I see her face when I say


that, because it was “You’re right!” And I never necessarily thought I was all that right. I think
it’s hard for me to think about me being right.
Zaragoza: You have another student who has actually become quite famous. I don’t know if
you remember Ben Haggerty.
Minugh: The name sounds familiar.
Zaragoza: I could show you a picture of him. He has a different name now, in terms of his
performing name. He now goes by Macklemore, and he’s an international hip-hop star.
Minugh: Oh, for crying out loud.
Zaragoza: You don’t remember Ben Haggerty? It was right when I was coming into the
program, and I remember having conversations with him. He wanted to do advising, or
counseling, with the students, and they made him a security guard at Green Hill. I remember
being there, and him telling me how much he absolutely hated where they put him, because
that’s not what he wanted to do. He had already started—he had been doing hip-hop for years,
and he wanted to work with kids through hip-hop. And here, they put him as a security guard.
And now, he’s a platinum-selling artist, Carol, who is doing incredible work.
Minugh: I didn’t know that. Yeah, I suspect that the whole thing of going out on a limb, and
doing something that is totally different—like those students who went out to Green Hill—that
was a big educational jump for them. And I think that, ah, it’s good. That is good. I would like
to see Ben Haggerty, and what he’s doing. That’s great. But I don’t . . .
Zaragoza: I bet if you look him up, you’ll recognize him.
Minugh: I’ll probably recognize him.
Zaragoza: Any other final words that you have? Any other memories of Evergreen, or you
work there or time there, that you want to share?
Minugh: Well, we didn’t talk about the barriers.
Zaragoza: Talk about those barriers.
Minugh: One of the things about me is I kind of have blinders on for negative things. I don’t
know if you remember that we had a program over in Montana at one point, a reservationbased program. We had a program at the Salish-Kootenai Reservation in Montana. And when I
started the program at Port Gamble, Port Gamble had come to me in January and asked if I

would consider coming up to Port Gamble. I said, “Well, we have to go through a tribal council.
We have to have a resolution from the tribal council. We have to have this.”
So, they went through all of that, and I went to the then-Provost Russ Lidman, he didn’t
like me—and asked—
Zaragoza: Okay, good.
Minugh: But anyway, Lidman said to me, “Well, we have to go before the HEC Board and get
approval from them to do this before we can go to Port Gamble.”
Minugh: This was in May, “They’re meeting is in July, and they’ve already decided their
agenda, so we can’t get on. So, you can’t go to Port Gamble.”
Don’t tell this Indian that she can’t do something! They had 20-some students. I mean, that’s
a bunch from one little reservation. I worked with Northwest Indian College to enroll those
that were lower division, and I took contracts with those that were upper division. I wasn’t
having any program there.
But unfortunately, about a year later I wrote a proposal, and in that proposal, I mentioned Port
Gamble, and the Provost read it. And he hit the ceiling. At the same time, I had this program in
Montana for a few years, and had a nice group of students over there. [Russ] Lidman.
Anyway, he decided to end the program in Montana. Not only that, but he took my name off of
the budget. My name would no longer be on the budget for that program in Montana. I didn’t
know that, until they started refusing me any money, and the secretary came to me and said,
“This is what happened. He took your name off.” She did it on the QT.
But he really was very angry at me because I went ahead and did that Port Gamble
thing. And when Barbara Smith had applied for the Provost position, she came to me before
she got the Provost job, she said “I’ll get it all straightened out for you,” because she knew what
a mess it was.
But at the same time, there were people telling me how I was way off base, I was not
doing right by the college and things like that. So, people were really buying into Lidman and
his stuff about me. When Barbara was Provost, and we had a meeting with the President, I
told the story, and I said, “And I did this. This is what I did. He told me I couldn’t do it, and I did
it anyway.” I guess that’s the barriers that I had.

With the Gateways program, people said, “We don’t do that. That’s not a part of a
college program.” We did it anyway. I think that the fact that they never were able to stop me,
I guess. It could be just something like that. It wasn’t that I was so bad or so off, but it was that
these little barriers were stupid barriers. I mean, that thing of him telling me that they couldn’t
get on the HEC Board agenda when it was in July. That was crap.
When Barbara went to the HEC Board with it, the guys say, “Well, we expect Evergreen
to be a little out of step.” And they congratulated her for being a little out of step.
So, you know, I just went with the flow, kind of. As long as you’re doing what is right,
and you’re not doing what is wrong, yeah, you can be honest with yourself about what you’re
doing, and know what you’re doing, there’s no reason to not do it. I suspect that my situation
was that I felt that it was the right thing to do.
The Montana thing, I didn’t ever think that we could do it. I went to Mike Bueg and
talked to him about it, and he said, “Of course we can do it.” He was a dean at the time, so it
was Mike that started that, not me.
You know, when you go over to Montana and see those folks in positions of leadership,
and things that they’ve done, it’s a pure joy. And the youth in the institutions, like I say, they’ve
given me so much. I have been so blessed by all of those. The youth, would be in line, and
somebody would use some swear words, and one of the kids in the program would say to the
other one, “We don’t talk like that in front of the grandmother.” You know, what an honor.
How much more could I be honored than that? I just have to say that I have been honored so
Zaragoza: Thank you, Carol.
Minugh: You’re welcome.
Zaragoza: I’m truly honored. Thank you.
[End Part 2 of 3 of Carol Minugh on September 22, 2017]
[Begin Part 3 of 3 of Carol Minugh on September 22, 2017
Zaragoza: Okay, Carol. You called me saying that you had some more things that you wanted
to talk about, and invited me back out. So, here I am. Let’s just start with kind of the general
sense of what are some of the things that occurred to you later that you wanted to talk about?

Minugh: One of the things was the involvement of Northwest Indian College and what we were
doing, because they were involved from the very beginning. It comes down to also my
philosophy: if a person wants to learn, you give them an opportunity, you don’t shut doors for
them. So, that’s one of the things I want to talk about, because Northwest Indian College was
very instrumental in making our program a success.
Zaragoza: Where is that based? Where is Northwest Indian College?
Minugh: Out of the Lummi Reservation, up north of Bellingham.
Zaragoza: What kind of relationship was there? How did that develop?
Minugh: My own personal relationship was built before I ever came to Evergreen, because of
work that I had done before that. The first thing I did was have a summer leadership program
at Quinault, and it was in conjunction with Northwest Indian College. I’m not even sure that we
had it at Evergreen. I think it could have been just Northwest Indian College. But, because it
was a sponsored program, I led it. It was during the summer. So, the relationship with
Northwest Indian College was a longstanding one for me.
I think that one of the things that made me think about this was—I don’t know if you
remember this or not, but at a meeting of the Gateways program, two of the people from out
at Green Hill said what they learned from me was how to change no into yes. And I think,
without ever knowing that I was doing it, I did that. You know, when I told you about the Port
Gamble S’Klallam, the Provost said no. So, I worked it out. And it wasn’t violating his no,
because I was basically not having a program there. I just had contracts with those students.
Of course, I did more than that, but that was on my own time.
But I think that when students came, and wanted to be in the program but didn’t qualify
because they didn’t have enough lower-division credits, I worked it out with Northwest Indian
College, and they granted them credits for the work that they did with us. There were any
number of students—we, of course, started with one, and talked to Northwest Indian College
and said, “Hey, this guy wants to be a part of the program. Is there any chance that we can
work something out so he can be part of the program, and receive college credits?” And we
did. We continued with that mode, working with the program, to make sure that nobody had


the door shut on them, but if we needed to, they could take some credits with Northwest
Indian College and then transfer to Evergreen.
The work was all the same. They didn’t do different work. They did earn less credits,
but the freedom to encourage whoever wanted to learn in that particular thing was
tremendous. When you think about what happened at Port Gamble, there were 18 students
who were lower-division students, and there were four that would have been upper-division
students. So, I took four contracts, and the lower division were Northwest Indian College.
Northwest Indian College paid two faculty to teach that class, with me. So, we taught it
as a team. Of course, when they finished their credits with Northwest Indian College, they
enrolled in Evergreen, and were Evergreen students. And that happened probably at every
reservation I worked at, because there were students who wanted to come into the program
but didn’t meet the requirement for Evergreen. So, we worked it out so that they could get
credit through Northwest, and then transfer to Evergreen when they had sufficient credits.
I don’t know that Evergreen ever knew that I was doing that. They probably did.
Somebody must have known it, because I didn’t mean to be crafty or anything.
Zaragoza: You’re a problem solver.
Minugh: Well, this is just what I’m about. I’m about education for Indian people. I’m not
about . . . whatever else. So, that was one of the things that we did. I think that the whole idea
that a person, when they want to learn, when they want an education, they want to come in, to
turn them away is not okay with me. So, that was an important thing. And that’s primarily
what I wanted to talk to you about. Does that make sense?
Zaragoza: It does make sense, and it fits into the pattern that I’ve seen of your life, about
expanding opportunities for education, and finding ways to get people the education that they
want and need and deserve.
Minugh: Yes. Like I say, I never set out to do these things. They were just the things that were
in front of me. I didn’t plan that I was going to do this or do that or anything else. It was just
the step that needed to be taken. I never said, “This is how I’m going to do it.” And I suspect
that lots of people could find a problem with that, because I didn’t do that.


Zaragoza: Are there particular people at Northwest Indian College, or during that time, that
you want to mention and discuss, who were part of creating the education?
Minugh: The President, and I can’t even remember the guy’s name, but the first man that was
President was the one that came and visited us out at Quinault, and then later on, somebody
else. But I can’t remember who the people were. That’s been a long time ago. At least 25
years ago.
But we did work closely with them, and they were very willing. It was kind of like, this is
what we can offer these guys. If they take this through your class, we can offer them X number
of credits, and this will work out with their system. It enabled us to open the door for more
Zaragoza: Another topic, and one that we were just talking about before we started—and I
think one that we’ve talked about over the years—is our what we might call mutual discomfort
oftentimes at Evergreen Olympia and the campus there. I wanted to know if you wanted to
address that at all.
Minugh: To address that, I would have to tell you that I probably had discomfort almost
everyplace I went, because I was not in step with whatever else was going on. I guess I took it
on as my responsibility, rather than somebody else. And I may not have been crazy about the
interaction between faculty, so I didn’t bother with it.
I was criticized a lot, because maybe it was because I didn’t bother with it, but I guess
part of it was because I did things without—I shouldn’t say without—I did things, and people
didn’t expect me to do those things, or thought, this isn’t right for you to do. And yet, there
were people at Evergreen that were very supportive of me, and that’s the one thing that I so
thoroughly appreciate about Evergreen. There were those that were very supportive of the
work that I was doing and what I was doing, whether it was with the tribes or whether it was
with the incarcerated kids.
I mean, there were people who said, “We don’t do that,” when we went out to work
with the incarcerated kids. And when I started doing that, it wasn’t as part of my faculty
contract, it was me, as a person, doing this and reaching out. And it developed into more of a
part of the program. After it was developed, it became a part of the program, rather than I

started out with figuring this would be a part of the program. I guess that I always felt that I
had a job to do, and doing that job meant that I stepped out of bounds. And I guess I didn’t
really think about it as being out of bounds, I thought it as the right thing to do.
I can remember when people would criticize me, and I would think to myself, they’re
criticizing me about something that is the right thing to do; not criticizing about something that
was a terrible thing and hurt people. But what I was doing was the right thing to do. I may not
have followed the line and done things the way any other faculty would do it, but it was usually
on my own nickel. It wasn’t that I was asking the college to pay for it.
I usually did those things, at least in the beginning, by myself. As they grew, then the
college took over responsibility for them. I didn’t go to the college and say, “Let’s start a
program with incarcerated kids.” No, we started a program with incarcerated kids, and slowly
integrated them into the on-campus programs, and integrated it into the campus, rather than
saying, “We’re going to do this.” It was, I don’t know, I wonder if I was just sneaky. I didn’t
mean to be sneaky, but it was always, like I say, the right thing to do. So, when people criticized
me, my heart and my feeling and knowing that it was the right thing to do, the criticism didn’t
touch me. I was honest about it. It was the right thing to do. Does that make sense?
Zaragoza: It does. Well, are there other topics that you wanted to touch on that we didn’t get
a chance to talk about the other day?
Minugh: That was the big one, the connection with Northwest Indian College, because I
thought that was important. I guess maybe we didn’t talk about the fact—yes, I think we did.
We talked about the fact that in order to go on to a reservation, we always went through the
tribal councils, so that it was not just Evergreen coming out and doing something, but that it
was something that was between the tribal council and the . . . This was the 701 agreement
with the State. Because this state has a unique agreement with the tribes to consult with them,
so we also tried to follow that agreement.
Zaragoza: One thing that does come to my mind that I know was part of the work we did with
Gateways—and probably was part of the reservation-based program, but I don’t know—is
there was support from Evergreen financially after a while.
Minugh: Yes.

Zaragoza: But one of the things that we constantly had to do was apply for grants.
Minugh: Mm-hm.
Zaragoza: I remember you writing so many grants, and being very successful with getting
outside funding, and I wondered if you wanted to talk some about that—the situation of the
need to pursue outside funding, but also the process and procedure for getting that funding. I
do think that that’s a significant part of the work that we did, especially after it had been
Minugh: I think that one of the things that we did in order to—I’m thinking about a particular
foundation that we made a connection with. They made a commitment to us, and so we just
continued to get funding from them, until they decided that they needed to fund somebody
The process of getting funding, primarily—because these kids didn’t have money to pay
tuition—that was a major thing was to get tuition money for those kids. I don’t remember, but
I suspect that we needed to have the van for students from Evergreen, that was funded.
Zaragoza: And some of the culture nights were funded.
Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: The speakers, the extra managing director, that position that came in, that was grant
Minugh: Those that came in, yes.
Zaragoza: The different kind of work that was going on.
Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: They funded a bunch of that. And the students themselves did all those fundraisers
on campus.
Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: Remember all of them?
Minugh: The Gateways program, you look at it and you think, my god, it just kind of grew like
Topsy. Nobody thought that we were going to do that. Nobody set out that we were going to
do that. Somebody said, “Here’s a need,” and we responded to it. And then, it grew.


I think that having people around you that have the same commitment that you do—
maybe not exactly the same commitment, but a similar commitment to people who don’t have
opportunity—that is really an important element.
I think about Ellen Short Sanchez. She asked me several times, “When are we going to
do this with the Chicano people? When are we going to have a program for the Chicano
people?” Well, we’ve never had one. Does Evergreen have one yet? No.
Zaragoza: They’re still working on it.
Minugh: Yeah. And again, someone like me, who just went ahead and did it, is what has to
Zaragoza: Yeah.
Minugh: Because you can’t wait around for institutions to make moves, unless it’s financially to
their benefit. Unfortunately, these kinds of programs originally, when they start out, they’re
not financially for their benefit.
I was willing to put my own money into it, and that wasn’t necessarily something that I
said I was going to do, it was something that I just did, because I believed in what we were
doing. And I think that as far as the program out at the institutions, we really were fortunate in
the fact that we got to go and do the things we did inside of those institutions. We built a
reputation that has been a tremendous reputation for the college, as well as the program, and I
think the college has gained a great deal from that.
But the fact that too many people let their work be governed by money—and, of course,
I was an older person, and I was doing this, and my family was all grown, so I didn’t have to
worry about everything else. I could spend my money as I damn well pleased. So, I did. So that
has a big thing to play with it is that you can’t expect a young person to do the kinds of things
that I did, because they have other responsibilities. I didn’t have those responsibilities. I had
the responsibility to myself to do what was right, and that was the biggest responsibility I had.
Zaragoza: One of the most important things that you taught me in doing the work—and it has
everything to do with why we were able to go out to Maple Lane and Green Hill—was the
necessity of building relationships with people, and that sometimes that’s more valuable than
money are those relationships.

Minugh: Yes.
Zaragoza: Maybe you can comment on that.
Minugh: Yeah. I think that as we build relationships, regardless of where we’re at, you know,
you care about people. And they start trusting you because you’re not there to get something
for yourself. I think about the security people. They trusted me. I mean, the trust that was
built between people because they would see that there was a constant and continued
program, and I think that those relationships.
I ran into the principal from Maple Lane just recently, and he talked about it. He was
tremendously good to work with, because he gave kids high school credit for being in our
program, which never happened at Green Hill. But the trust that was built, the idea that we
were working together—not working separately, but we were working together—I think that
that was really important.
When one of our former students visited a juvenile institution in Oregon, one of the
former people from Maple Lane is now the superintendent there, and he could say nothing but
good things, and bragged about Gateways program, and was so thrilled that she came there.
She did a little bit of a cultural program with them. And I think that those relationships, that
trust, that belief that we weren’t going to do anything that would be harmful.
I think about one young man who asked to see me, and I was surprised. One of the, I
suppose you could say guards or people anyway in the institution, said he wanted to talk with
me. I went and talked to him, and it was that relationship, it was that thing that could touch.
And I think that being sincere—not just teaching but being sincere—about who you were. Not
being somebody that I’m not, but being the person that I am, and allowing them to be the
person that they are. Not judging, not saying, “Well, you did this crime, you did that, you did
the other thing.” Building trust between people, knowing that I can trust this person with who I
am—I don’t have to be false, I don’t have to be somebody else, I can be who I am—I think that
that is the relationship that we have been able to build with the institutions, and with the
young people in the institutions. Does that make sense?
Zaragoza: It does. Thank you very much, Carol.
Minugh: Well, thank you.

[End Part 3 of 3 of Carol Minugh on September 22, 2017]