OCTOBER 28, 2009

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Wilma Mankiller Named First Sequoyah Fellow

Photo of NSU's Sequoyah fellow and native American students.
Wilma Mankiller was instroduced as NSU's first Sequoyah Institute Fellow in September.

Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, was introduced as NSU’s first Sequoyah Institute Fellow during a ceremony Sept. 4 at Seminary Hall. President Don Betz introduced Mankiller, who spoke of the issues she wished to address and goals she hoped to achieve as a Sequoyah Fellow.

Mankiller said NSU’s history and location made it an ideal place “to highlight the intellectual, economic and cultural achievements of native people.”

“We have a rich Native American history,” she said. “Tahlequah is also the home of the great Cherokee Nation which continues to be a major educational, economic, social and cultural force here in Oklahoma.

With Northeastern and the Cherokee Nation working together, anything is possible.”

Mentioning common challenges the Cherokees share with all native peoples globally, Mankiller said, “I hope to assist Northeastern State University in developing practical ways to become a major gathering place for indigenous people all over the world.”

She also expressed a desire to explore leadership issues, including indigenous and women’s leadership, “not just the theoretical aspects… but how you make it work.”

Mankiller believes the place of her introduction and site of her office are appropriate.

“I was especially happy to learn that my office would be in Seminary Hall,” she said, “because I think Seminary Hall not only symbolizes the Cherokee Nation’s commitment to the education of women, it also symbolizes the intellectual history of Northeastern.”

During the introduction Betz cited a long-standing goal of the Sequoyah Institute to begin a fellowship program, and his pleasure with its emergence.

“I think Wilma Mankiller joining the Northeastern State family as a Sequoyah Fellow enriches all of us and we look forward to a very long and fruitful association.” Betz said.