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September 14, 2018

Sept. 13, 2018

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief, Other Tribal Leaders Collaborate with University of Oklahoma to Promote Higher Education for Native Americans


NORMAN, Okla. – Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James Floyd joined other Oklahoma tribal dignitaries at the University of Oklahoma’s Inaugural Native Nations Reception for Tribal Leaders event Sept. 11, 2018, at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art on the Norman campus.

James L. Gallogly, OU’s new president and the university’s 14th president, invited Floyd and other Oklahoma nations in an effort to collaborate and create an ongoing partnership with the tribes and better serve the Native American students.

Gallogly, who officially took office July 1, 2018, said he hoped the meeting would be the first of many with the tribes and an opportunity for the university to listen and respond to the needs of the Native American students at OU.

“This is a historic event today on our campus and this should’ve happened so many years ago,” Gallogly said. “But our goal today is incredibly simple; to turn the page, get a fresh start, be a good neighbor and be welcoming to our university.”

Gallogly said he would also like to see the university be number one in Native American Studies across the country.

The College of Arts and Sciences Native American Studies Department offers Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, as well as a MA/JD degree with OU College of Law.

OU NAS currently offers three native language courses, Cherokee, Choctaw and Kiowa, along with studies specific to Tribal Governance and Policy, Indigenous Media and Arts and Language, as well as the History and Cultural tribal aspects.

Aside from the educational programs offered to students, the university also has a number of other entities to support and assist the Native population, such as American Indian Student Life.

AISL provides programs and services including assistance with scholarship and internship opportunities, academic support and offers mentorships to students, as well as holding cultural events, banquets and award ceremonies throughout the year.

A tribal liaison position has been established under the Office of University Community to work closely with the nations to provide an institutional framework for students.

Recruiting efforts of the Native American communities is also a primary focus of the Office of Admissions and Recruitment’s Diversity Enrichment Programs.

Assistant Director of Diversity Enrichment Programs and Comanche Nation citizen, Jared Wahkinney, said his main goal in recruiting is not only to bring native youth to OU, but higher education in general.

Wahkinney’s recruiting outreach consists of working with tribal leaders, the Johnson O’Malley Programs and tribal higher education programs across the state.

Floyd said the partnership with Gallogly and the university is a significant opportunity to improve the educational strength of MCN citizens and students for the future.

Floyd looks forward to the ongoing relationship to offer citizens a positive higher education experience.

“Too many times we have students that go off to a big college like the University of Oklahoma and sometimes if they don’t have the support, they don’t finish,” Floyd said. “We want to them to have success and I think in developing this relationship, the university will understand what our needs are and can help address the needs of our students so they can graduate and be successful.”

In April 2018, the Norman campus opened the Native Nations Center, Native Nations Center Endowment and the Hall of Native Nations, which holds 39 different flags that represent the 39 tribal nations throughout Oklahoma.

The Native Nations Center provides research opportunities for language revitalization, arts and culture, as well as scholarships and overall community and tribal engagement.

To close the reception, Gallogly said another goal of his is to see the 39 flags of the Oklahoma nations be displayed in a prominent place on campus for everyone to see.

“We are so proud of your nations and we hope that we can become your very close partner,” Gallogly said.