NSU offers Native American organization
TNE Editor

NSU offers Native American organization

Published 11/16/17

Trista Vaughn

TNE Writer

At NSU, about one-third of the student body are Native American. NSU is the largest 4-year college with the biggest enrollment of American Indian or Alaskan Native students. However, Native Americans are only about one percent of the population in the US. With the numbers being that low, it is important Native Americans come together as one and encourage each other.

Native American Student Association is an organization at NSU that provides opportunities for Native American students to participate in culturally-relevant activities that foster a closer union. Activities also conserve individual tribal traditions and customs, on and off campus.

“NASA kind of acts as a central community for the Native American students on campus, a home away from home so to speak,” said Jacob Chavez, NASA president.

Membership is open to all enrolled students of Native American or Alaskan Indian descent, as well as students interested in Native American culture.

“One of the reasons why I joined NASA was a way for me to get involved more on campus,” said Skylar Vann, NASA treasurer. “I personally enjoyed it when I first attend the meeting and events NASA held.”

Chavez said the mission for NASA is to promote awareness of indigenous cultures and customs while serving as a social organization for Native and nonNative students on NSU’s campus. NSU celebrates American Indian Heritage Month and NASA is involved in the events.

“NASA is a helping hand with AIHM,” said Vann. “Through the month of November, Native American organizations at NSU, including NASA, put on events for the entire campus.”

Vann said as an opening event, NASA organized the annual honor walk through campus, holding and carrying tribal flags going throughout the Tahlequah campus.

NASA believes everyday should be celebrated like AIHM. It supports events at NSU that promote and celebrate Native American culture.

This coming April will commence the 46th Annual Symposium on the American Indian: “Walking with our Ancestors: Preserving Culture and Honoring Tradition.” The Symposium provides a space for Indigenous community across all generations to examine history and reflect on how the collective past influences indigenous peoples today. Native Americans are preserving culture and honoring traditions by incorporating this knowledge into present day professional careers. While indigenous communities may look different, Native Americans have still managed to maintain identity and hold fast to language, sovereignty and indigenous ways of living.

“The symposium is such a big thing for my family and I,” said Kayli Gonzales, Welling senior. “I love the atmosphere when I go to symposium. So many Native Americans gather and just enjoy being Native American. It is always a reminder where our ancestors came from and this year’s theme is perfect for that.”

Gonzales also said the powwow is her favorite thing to watch.  

NASA has one more event for AIHM. The Indian Taco Sale is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 28.

“We hope to have a good turnout for that, because it acts as a fundraiser for the organization,” said Chavez. 

For more information about the organization, email NASA at nasa@nsuok.edu or visit the NASA Facebook page.

For more information about AIHM, visit NSU's AIHM event calendar.

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