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SAIO 50 for 50: Dean Chavers

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Dean Chavers

Dean Chavers

Chavers (Lumbee) is the director and a board member of Catching the Dream, a nonprofit that provides scholarships to Native American students and supports Native American high schools in establishing and strengthening their college preparatory programs. He was the second Lumbee to become a navigator in the U.S. Air Force. Over four tours and 17 months in Guam, Okinawa, and Thailand, Chavers flew B-52 bombers in 138 missions in the Vietnam War. He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, eight Air Medals and six other medals for his service.

Chavers was also one of the original Indian occupiers of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California. He credits the Alcatraz occupation with the enactment of much of the United States’s most important Indian legislation, including the Indian Education Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and the Indian Self Determination Act.

Chavers has served as president of Bacone College, a board member for the National Indian Education Association, and a member of The College Board’s Advisory Panel on Minority Concerns. He is a recipient of the City of Albuquerque’s Human Rights Award and has written a number of books including Racism in Indian Country, Modern American Indian Leaders, and Exemplary Programs in Indian Education. In addition to his Stanford degrees, Chavers has a bachelor’s from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Dean's Interview