About Us

The University

Northeastern State University is a comprehensive regional university that prepares students to succeed as global citizens by providing exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs, along with the only Doctorate of Optometry offered in Oklahoma (one of only 19 nationwide) and the only Bachelor of Arts degree in Cherokee Education in the nation. 


Northeastern was founded in 1846 as the Cherokee National Female Seminary, which opened in 1851. On March 6, 1909, the Oklahoma Legislature purchased the Seminary from the Cherokee Nation, and the following September classes began at the newly formed Northeastern State Normal School. In 2009, the NSU Centennial Celebration highlighted the university’s 100 years as a state institution and dedicated a monument to the preeminent Cherokee scholar, Sequoyah.

Center for Tribal Studies

Since its inception in 1990, the Center for Tribal Studies has become one of the central resources on campus for supporting academic effectiveness, enhancing the quality of student experiences, initiating scholarly activities, bridging communication between tribal nations and the university, and enriching the cultural heritage of the Northeastern State University community. The Center for Tribal Studies is located in the historic Bacone House, located at 320 Academy Street in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, with a student services office located in Room 121 of the John Vaughan Library.

Cherokee Studies

Unique to Northeastern State University, the Cherokee Language Program offers the only indigenous language degree available in the continental United States. Since its inception in 2005, the Cherokee Program has brought together university, global and local interests as part of a plan to strengthen the Cherokee language for present and future generations. With graduates employed at state universities and at the Cherokee Language Immersion School, CLP graduates are vital to the perpetuation of the Cherokee language and culture.

Symposium on the American Indian

Each year, the Symposium on the American Indian at Northeastern State University examines the history, culture and challenges of Native American tribes in this country. The 38th Annual Symposium on the American Indian, held in April 2010, was dedicated to the memory of Wilma Mankiller, the former Cherokee Nation principal chief and inaugural NSU Sequoyah Fellow, who was part of the planning of the event. The 39th Annual Symposium on the American Indian is scheduled for April 11-16, 2011.