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Celebrating First Nations Day: OSU's Commitment to Native American Student Success

Credit: Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma State University (OSU) marked a significant milestone by hosting its inaugural First Nations Day, underlining the institution's dedication to fostering the educational journey of Native American students. This event, organized by OSU’s Center for Sovereign Nations, coincided with American Indian Awareness Week, offering a platform to celebrate the rich heritage and academic aspirations of Native American communities.

A Day of Cultural Pride and Educational Opportunities

The event kicked off with a powerful rendition of the "Ponca Flag Song" by Caleb Garcia, the 2023 Mr. American Indian OSU, setting the tone for a day filled with cultural celebration and educational exploration. OSU President Kayse Shrum highlighted the crucial role of Native American tribes and their partnership with the university, notably through initiatives like the first tribal-affiliated medical school in partnership with the Cherokee Nation. This initiative not only underscores OSU's commitment to inclusive education but also positions it as a leader in developing Native American college graduates.

Building Bridges Through Education

The First Nations Day event provided prospective high school students with an immersive experience into OSU's campus life through admissions presentations, a student panel Q&A, and guided campus tours. With representation from twenty-five nations and tribes from six different states, the event served as a vibrant showcase of OSU's welcoming spirit and its efforts to champion Native American student success. Karen Chen, vice president of enrollment management at OSU, emphasized the importance of such initiatives in helping students find their place and thrive within the OSU community.

A Week of Awareness and Achievement

The celebration of American Indian Awareness Week at OSU extended beyond First Nations Day, featuring an alumni reception, a science and engineering fair, and the much-anticipated Miss American Indian OSU Pageant and honoring ceremony for graduates. The week also included the celebration of Nike N7 Day by OSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, further highlighting the university's efforts to honor and showcase tribal sovereignty and the achievements of Native American students on campus.

Kait Pinkerton, president of the OSU Native American Student Association, stressed the importance of highlighting the Native American community’s presence and achievements, noting the significant impact of recognizing and celebrating tribal sovereignty and student success on campus.

OSU's First Nations Day is more than just an event; it's a testament to the university's commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for Native American students. By embracing and celebrating the unique cultural heritage of these students, OSU is paving the way for a more diverse and enriched academic community.

For those interested in learning more about OSU's initiatives and the First Nations Day event, further details can be found by reaching out to Page Mindedahl, Communications Specialist at OSU.


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