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Cherokee Nation Working Together

NSU, Cherokee Nation working together to create new space for Center for Tribal Studies

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NSU and tribal officials are working together to fund the renovation of a space in the University Center to be the new home for the Center for Tribal Studies. The Cherokee Nation has pledged $300,000 in support of the project. Pictured are officials from the Cherokee Nation and NSU celebrating this partnership with a check presentation of the first $100,000 in April in support of the project. Above from left to right are Director for the NSU Center for Tribal Studies Sara Barnett, NSU Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Dr. Jerrid Freeman, Cherokee Nation District 2 Tribal Councilor Dr. Candessa Teehee, Cherokee Nation Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., Cherokee Nation Education Services Executive Director Mark Vance, Acting Deputy Executive Director of Cherokee Nation Education Services Aaron Emberton, Dr. Steve Turner, NSU President, Cherokee Nation District 1 Tribal Councilor Rex Jordan, NSU Vice President of University Relations Dan Mabery, Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Tina Glory-Jordan, Cherokee Nation Chief of Staff Corey Bunch, NSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Debby Landry, NSGA President Brooklyn Neff, Cherokee Nation Executive Administration Special Projects Officer Camerin Fite-James, and NSU Director of Research & Sponsored Programs Jessica Secratt.

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.”