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NSU observes American Indian Heritage Month

Published 11/7/17


Jacob Chavez

Contributing Writer

American Indians are an integral part of NSU’s history, as the university originally began as the Cherokee National Female Seminary in 1851. Today, American Indians make up approximately 36.1 percent of the student body at NSU, according to the NSU American Indian profile of 2016 located on NSU’s website.

November is American Indian Heritage Month, and the self-identified American Indian students are provided with a chance to share their culture and ideals with their peers.

“Our goal is to get the public active,” said Sara Barnett, Center for Tribal Studies director at NSU. “Both the students and faculty that identify as Native American enjoy this time to educate and share their culture with the rest of our NSU family.”

According to, the first approved resolution for National American Indian Heritage Month was signed by President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Related declarations have been made under different titles consecutively since 1994.

“I think it helps to motivate the students to stay in school and pursue their fields of interest,” said Alisa Douglas, student programs coordinator at CTS. “They have something to offer from their homes and get to showcase it for the other students who might not otherwise get to experience something like this.”

CTS coordinates with the Native American student organizations on campus to provide various events throughout the month.

Skylar Vann, Native American Student Association treasurer, said they are focused on providing anything for other American Indian students who want to bring something to offer for the month.

“We are opening up our funds to our members and other Native students alike who think they would like to show something, but need a little help getting materials,” said Vann. “This year NASA is putting on a stickball game, an Indian Taco sale, and a Chalk Talk, where we’ll write indigenous phrases all over the campus in chalk.”

Sharyse Monroe, American Indian Science and Engineering Society secretary, said she is excited about the month and looks forward to sharing her culture with anyone interested.

“AISES will be hosting a stickball tournament,” said Monroe. “We usually host a social game for the community to be involved, but I think a tournament will offer a more competitive edge for those already familiar with the game and could help bring in those outside of Tahlequah.”

All of the events during American Indian Heritage Month will be in Tahlequah on the NSU campus and are open to the public. The American Indian students and staff encourage everyone to participate in any activity and welcome all questions.

For more information, visit CTS on Facebook at NSU Center for Tribal Studies, call CTS at 918-444-4350, or email at

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