Cherokee Nation Working Together
NSU, Cherokee Nation working together to create new space for Center for Tribal Studies
TAHLEQUAH — The Center for Tribal Studies at Northeastern State University plans to move from its current location on Goingsnake Street to a new space in the University Center in Tahlequah.
Northeastern State University and Cherokee Nation officials are working together to begin renovation of the space this summer. The Cherokee Nation has pledged to donate $300,000 in support of the project.
Both university and tribal officials believe the move will allow the center to better serve Native American students and increase collaboration between NSU, the Cherokee Nation and other tribal-serving organizations.
“Since its creation in 1990, the Center for Tribal Studies has evolved, focusing more now on supporting our American Indian students and serving as a cultural resource for the campus community,” Director for the Center for Tribal Studies Sara Barnett said. “In order to effectively serve our American Indian student population, we need to be both physically accessible and visible to the campus community.”
Barnett said moving to the University Center will allow permanent and grant-funded staff to be together in the same space to ensure the center is effectively serving the students.
Officials are currently working with GH2 contractors who are developing the design for the area. She said current plans include seven office spaces, one for each of our current full-time staff and another open office which will be utilized by Cherokee Nation and other tribal higher education offices and supporting organizations.
Plans also include a conference room, collaborative work areas for student workers and Native student organization leaders, as well as individual work stations.
Barnett said the center has been in conversations with tribal leaders about how the center and tribe can better collaborate in this new space to better serve the Cherokee Nation student population.
"For generations, education has been deeply important to the Cherokee people. It’s so important for Cherokees and other Native students to have a centralized space to gather for fellowship, to study with their classmates, and to receive services most relevant to them,” Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief and NSU alumnus Bryan Warner said.
"This renovated space in the University Center at Northeastern State University will allow for various Cherokee Nation departments such as the College Resource Center, Behavioral Health, Career Services and others to host office hours on campus to better serve Cherokee students. We know this new space will lead to even more academic success for Native students at NSU.”