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Ninth Native American Symposium and Film Festival

October 26th, 2011
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The Ninth Native American Symposium and Film Festival will celebrate the uncharted but hopeful future of Native America today.  The keynote speaker this year will be the distinguished educator and scholar Henrietta Mann. Papers, presentations, creative projects, and films on all aspects of Native American life and studies are welcome.  All papers presented at the symposium will be eligible for inclusion in the published proceedings.  Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Dr. Mark B. Spencer at mspencer@se.edu.

 

Native American Excellence in Education

July 28th, 2011
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SE Students: Robert Ferguson, Brenner Billy, Leslie Wesberry, Josh Riley

Native American Excellence in Education

SE Students Visit Mississippi

July 28th, 2011
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July 13-17, 2011

Native American students and staff from SE attended the 62nd Annual Choctaw Indian Fair in Choctaw, MS this year.  The Fair was held from July 13 through July 17 offering four days of events pertaining to tribal culture and history.  The group had the opportunity to take part in and observe cultural exhibitions like social dancing, traditional dress, blowgun demonstrations and basket weaving activities.  A highlight of the fair is the World Series of Stickball.

 

Many of our students who attended are education majors.  Of interest to them were the kids demonstrations which took place in a new cultural exhibit, called Chahta immi ihinoshi (Choctaw Ways Path).  The exhibit was a place where kids could learn about their culture and take part in activities such as pottery making, pony bead making, little drum making, rabbit stick throwing, and animal storytelling.

 

A couple of our students had the opportunity to play in the stickball games the week prior to us being there.  They played with the Oklahoma Choctaw team and did very well.  We watched two of the games, including the championship.  The games are very physical and require tremendous skill at catching and throwing the ball.

 

Our group watched a drama based on the history of the Tribe, Choctaw Journey: Chahta Alheha Anowa which was presented as a reenactment of the tribe’s road through many hardships and ends with the recent reclamation of the “Mother Mound”, Nanih Waiya.  Although the reenactment was great, a highlight for our students was actually visiting the Nanih Waiya Mound and Nanih Waiya Cave.  Both are located just a few miles from the fair grounds.

Additionally, the group drove to Tupelo, MS to visit an original Chickasaw townsite, Tchichitala.  Archaeologist Dr. Brad Lieb who is a Special Assistant in Cultural Affairs at the Chickasaw Nation, met the group at the town site and presented an extensive tour/history lesson of the site.  Tchichitala is a 1700’s original town in which Chickasaws lived.

Native American Excellence in Education

National Ranking

July 28th, 2011
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Southeastern ranks 6th nationally in producing Native American graduates

Press Release Date: 7-14-2011

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University continues to earn high marks from “Diverse Issues In Higher Education” magazine.

Each year, the magazine publishes its top 100 rankings of minority graduates.

According to the latest rankings, released this summer, Southeastern ranks sixth in the nation in awarding undergraduate degrees to Native American graduates in all disciplines combined. In addition, Southeastern is ranked 17th nationally in awarding master’s degrees in all disciplines.

In the undergraduate rankings, Southeastern was ranked in the top 10 in nine different majors; in the master’s category, Southeastern was ranked in the top 10 in two majors.

Southeastern held the top three rankings on the undergraduate list in Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related fields (Occupational Safety & Health), Education, and Psychology. In the master’s rankings, Southeastern was ranked first in Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related fields (Occupational Safety & Health), and second in Engineering (Aerospace Administration & Logistics).

“We are very pleased to be recognized nationally for our work with Native American students,” said Southeastern president Larry Minks. “I think it is particularly impressive when you look at the number of different fields of study that are represented in the rankings. We have a number of programs in place, including the Native American Center for Student Success, to assist these students as they strive to reach their educational goals. We are also very fortunate to have tremendous support from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Chickasaw Nation. Partnerships have been established with both nations to truly benefit students and we look forward to continued success.”

The report is based on preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Education for the 2009-10 school year. In the undergraduate category, Southeastern had 170 Native American graduates that year (28 percent of the total undergraduate class to earn degrees).

Following are Southeastern’s national rankings, by major, in the top 100 degree producers list (Native American students) as released by “Diverse Issues In Higher Education.”

Bachelor’s Degrees

  1. Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related fields (Occupational Safety & Health)
  2. Education
  3. Psychology
  4. Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities
  5. All Disciplines combined
  6. Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  7. Finance and Financial Management Services
  8. Parks, Recreation, Leisure and Fitness Studies
  9. Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs
  10. Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services
  11. Social Sciences
  12. Business Management, Marketing, and Related Support services
  13. Visual & Performing Arts

Master’s Degrees

  1. Engineering Technologies and Engineering-related fields (Occupational Safety & Health)
  2. Engineering (Aerospace Administration & Logistics)
  3. Education
  4. All Disciplines combined
  5. Business Administration, Management and Operations
  6. Business Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services

Last year, Southeastern ranked seventh nationally in the publication’s rankings for undergraduate degrees in all disciplines combined.

The Southeastern Native American Center for Student Success provides advisement and assistance in accessing external funding for Native American students. The center also houses staff from the Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program and the Chickasaw Nation Education Services and offers a College Success course for new freshmen.

The Center is home to the “Native American Excellence in Education” grant funded by the Office of Indian Education to assist with preparing future Native American educators.

Southeastern also offers a Native American Studies minor, Native American management option and four courses in Choctaw Language and Culture.

Each year, Southeastern partners with the Choctaw Nation to sponsor “Native American Visitation Day, ” in which high school students experience the college setting.

Among other activities, the University hosts the Native American Symposium and Film Festival.

Native American Excellence in Education

Harvey Foundation awards scholarships to SE students

November 23rd, 2010
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Front row, left to right, Jerry Felknor, Judy Picone, Brittany Snapp, O.J. Harvey, Haley Grant, Jessica Gann, Jo McDaniel, and Joy Culbreath. Back row, President Larry Minks, Rique Martinez, Terry Minton, Travis Dill, Caley Wesberry, Morgan McGee.
DURANT, Okla. – The O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Educational Foundation has awarded three additional scholarships to Native American students attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
As a joint effort between the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Southeastern Native American Center for Student Success, the number of Native American students being awarded a scholarship from the Harvey Foundation for the fall 2010 and spring 2011 semesters is eight. Each scholarship is valued at $5,000 per year, with $2,500 paid in each of the fall and spring semesters.
Chris Wesberry, Coordinator of Southeastern’s Native American Center for Student Success, said, “We are honored that the O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Foundation continues to support Native American students at Southeastern. The selected students share a commonality in their culture, but at the same time they are an academically diverse group. We look forward to seeing what they become.”
The 2010 recipients are Rique Joe Martinez of Ryan, Judy Kay Picone of Hartshorne, and Lauren Caley Wesberry of Tishomingo.
Martinez is a freshman concentrating on general education courses but has an interest in the Occupational Safety and Health program as well as a degree in an Education field. Rique is employed by the Choctaw Casino and Resort.
Picone is a sophomore English Education major who graduated from Jones Academy. She is a member of the President’s Leadership Class and works in the recruitment office at Southeastern.
Wesberry is a junior majoring in chemistry. Her plans after graduation are to attend optometry school at Northeastern. She works at Clay-Rhynes Eye Clinic in Durant.
The three new awardees join fellow recipients Travis Trenton Dill, Jessica Ann Gann, Haley Jaey Grant, Morgan Kincaid McGee, Brittany Chanel Snapp, and former recipient Ray Perez Stephens.
Dill, of Bokchito, is a junior majoring in criminal justice. Gann, of Hugo, is a junior majoring in communication/broadcasting. Grant, of Madill, is a senior majoring in biology. McGee, from Bethel, is a senior majoring in graphic design and visual media. Snapp, of Valliant, is a senior majoring in communication. Stephens, from Caddo, is a 2009 graduate pursuing his masters in Occupational Safety and Health at Southeastern and was one of the first recipients of the Harvey Foundation scholarships at the University.
This year, Dr. O.J. Harvey, along with two foundation board members and their spouses spent time on campus with the eight scholarship recipients and staff from the Choctaw Nation and Southeastern. During this time, the recipients took the opportunity to update the board members on where they are in their degree plans, their future career plans, and thanked the Foundation for its support.
McGee, a 2007 recipient, said, “This scholarship has allowed me to start and finish my degree in Graphic Design and Visual Media. I am very appreciative. I will graduate this December.”
Among the recipients are presidents and vice presidents of student organizations, a writer for the Southeastern student newspaper, a radio personality, a future Highway Patrol officer, a nursing student, a safety specialist, an English teacher, and an optometrist.
Jo McDaniel, Director of the Choctaw Nation Scholarship Advisement Program, said, “The continued support from the O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Educational Foundation is making such an impact on our Choctaw students at Southeastern. Financial assistance is so vital for our college students and we are very thankful to the Harvey Foundation for providing these scholarships.”
The recipients continued the Native American custom of presenting a gift to someone who has honored them. They presented a traditional ribbon shirt to Dr. O.J. Harvey, founder of the O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Educational Foundation. The ribbon shirt is symbolic of Native American culture as it relates to social gatherings and special events. Historically, in the Native American tradition, many nations/tribes have conducted give-aways when being honored. Instead of receiving gifts, the honorees present gifts to those who have helped them reach their goals.
The O.J. and Mary Christine Harvey Educational Foundation was established to assist in the education of academically capable students, especially Native Americans. Among the more important reasons why the scholarships have been committed to Native American students at Southeastern is the highly cooperative working relationship between the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Southeastern, the high number of Native American students attending the University, and the fact that Southeastern is a national leader in graduating Native American students.

Native American Excellence in Education

Southeastern hosts Native American Graduation Reception

May 14th, 2010
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Students gather at the Native American graduation reception.

Students gather at the Native American graduation reception.

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University hosted the fourth annual Native American Graduation Reception Wednesday in the Glen D. Johnson Student Union.

The 2009-10 SE graduating class consists of 201 Native American students from the following tribes: Caddo, Cherokee, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Delaware and Citizen Band of Potawatomie.

Tribal representatives from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Chickasaw Nation, along with SE faculty and staff, were present for the event.

Joy Culbreath, Executive Director of Education for the Choctaw Nation and alumna of Southeastern, congratulated the students and encouraged them to continue with their education and careers. She also expressed appreciation to the University and Chris Wesberry (Coordinator of the Native American Center for Student Success at Southeastern) for all of their efforts in assisting Native American students.

Deborah Hook, Higher Education Program Manager for the Chickasaw Nation and alumna of Southeastern, presented graduation stoles to Chickasaw students who completed their degree program with a 3.5 or higher grade point average.

“It is such an honor to be able to celebrate such a major accomplishment with our college graduates,” Hook said. “Our students work so hard to get to this point and although we may not interact every day with them, it still gives us a sense of pride knowing they are Chickasaw citizens who will go out and make a great contribution to our society.”

Southeastern has a long and successful history of providing higher education opportunities for Native American students. The University service area covers significant parts of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations and partners with the tribes to provide specialized services for all Native American students.

Both tribes have professional staff working in the Native American Center for Student Success on campus at SE to assist students with scholarships, grants and tribal resources. This partnership contributes to SE being among the national leaders in the percentage of Native American graduates, the overall number of Native American graduates and Native American in the fields of Communication/Journalism, Biological and Medical Sciences, Education, Psychology, Computer Science and English, Language and Culture.

“The reception is a great way for us to personally congratulate the students for their academic achievement and to extend further support to them, ” Wesberry said. “This year, we had a very diverse group ranging from students earning their MBA degrees to non-traditional students earning their first degrees. We are proud of them all.”

Native American Excellence in Education

Native American Student Visitation Day 2010

March 3rd, 2010
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Native American Visitation Day

held at McCurtain County campus

Press Release Date: 03-04-2010

DURANT, Okla. – Southeastern Oklahoma State University held its 8th annual Native American Student Visitation Day at the McCurtain County campus on Feb. 17.

The event is traditionally held on Southeastern’s main campus in Durant, but this year’s event was held at the branch campus so Native American high school students in the area could share in the experiences of the event.

SE’s Native American Center for Student Success worked with Bruce King, Associate Dean of the McCurtain County campus, in coordinating the event, which included representatives from Eastern Oklahoma State College, Southeastern staff, and staff from the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to provide services to the attendees.

Fifty students from Smithville, Broken Bow, Idabel, Hartshorne, Jones Academy and Fort Towson attended the event. Students had an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge by attending informative workshops focused on two degree programs. EOSC provided information on its degree program in nursing and Southeastern hosted a workshop on teacher education.

Phillip Billy, a 1984 graduate of Broken Bow High School, was the keynote speaker. He earned his Associate of Science degree at Murray State College in 1986, then enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he attained the rank of Sergeant. He received his Bachelor’s of Social Work degree in 1994 from the University of Oklahoma and completied his Master’s of Human Relations degree at OU in 2007. Billy has worked in the substance abuse and violence prevention and counseling fields for many years. He is now the Northern Region Leadership Training Manager for the Chickasaw Nation.

Billy’s message covered “values and challenges.” The first challenge of the day came with students volunteering to participate in the Turtle Dance. Although it is a dance, the experience was quickly related to teamwork and to family.

Chris Wesberry, Coordinator for the SE Native American Center for Student Success, said, “Phillip made an impressive connection with the students from the beginning.”

Southeastern is among the national leaders in the percentage of Native American graduates, the overall number of Native American graduates, and Native American graduates in Education and psychology. Southeastern has a long and successful history of providing higher education opportunities for Native American students. The University service area covers significant parts of the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations and partners with the tribes to provide specialized services for all Native American students.

Wesberry said, “We want to give special thanks to Choctaw Chief Greg Pyle and Assistant Chief Gary Batton for their continued support and the donation of T-shirts. Also, special thanks to the Idabel Youth Advisory Board for volunteering for the event.”

For information on Native American programming at SE, contact Wesberry at 580-745-2376 or cwesberry@SE.edu.

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Native American Excellence in Education