James Florendo coordinates the Native American Programs at Lane Community College. He is a member of the Lane faculty and is steward of Lane's new Longhouse.
James Florendo coordinates the Native American Programs at Lane Community College. He is a member of the Lane faculty and is steward of Lane's new Longhouse. As a member of the Wasco nation, one of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, his deep roots in and knowledge of Native American traditions is a valuable asset in understanding the needs and dreams of the growing number of Native American students choosing Lane to begin their higher education.
His passion for supporting Native American students at Lane comes from his own experience in higher education. After high school, James enrolled at the University of Oregon. The transition from his life on the reservation to immersion into university life was a difficult cultural change. While academically capable, he did not have the social skills and knowledge he needed to navigate college life. Unwilling to return to the reservation a failure, James decided to try Lane where he found staff who were ready to go the extra mile to help him establish himself as a student in higher education. Two years later, equipped with new skills and knowledge, James returned to the UO where he completed his bachelor's degree and continued on to earn his master's of fine arts.
After 11 years on faculty at the UO, James returned to Lane where he now teaches courses in college success, ethnic studies, story-telling and dance, to all students at Lane, Native and non-native alike. James' classes are focused on the concept of "tribe," where everyone in the class is respected for their knowledge and skill and is expected to share their knowledge for the betterment of the whole class.
In understanding the special cultural needs and perspectives of Native American students James has said, "I want them to come to Lane Community College, I want them to experience what this school has to offer." Building a solid academic foundation for these students is critical to their educational success.