Durant Hosts Native American Student Conference - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Durant Hosts Native American Student Conference

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DURANT, OK -- An event held at Southeastern Oklahoma State University was geared to one particular type of student. The conference designed for Native American students has been held at several different colleges, and this year, it came to Texoma.

Dozens of students descended on the campus, to learn some things that are not part of their normal curriculum. "It's the only conference for Native American students in college in Oklahoma, so it gives them a great networking opportunity," says Southeastern's Native American center director Chris Wesberry.

The Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education Conference allows students to meet their peers and professionals. "The keynote speakers and things, these are people that are leading their tribe. You listen to what they have to say and take their inspiration and help them guide you," says Northeastern student Kimberly Proctor.

"One thing is for them to validate their ideals. I think they wouldn't be here unless they are forward thinkers," says education consultant Quinton Roman Nose, a keynote speaker.

This is the sixth year for the conference, but it's the first time it's been held at Southeastern. About 100 students and staff from 10 different schools around the state, came to participate, says Wesberry.

"In the pre-K to 12 student population, there's a one in 5 and soon to be one in 4 will be Native American and you translate those numbers in who's going to college and who's actually graduating and we're still very underrepresented," says Roman Nose.

"We've met people from OU, NSU, OSU, Bacone," says Southeastern student Caley Wesberry.

Through a show of hands, Roman Nose, who worked for the Cheyenne-Arapaho Nation, pointed out many students have taken a class in American history, but not one on their tribes. It is a part of themselves students are thinking about more closely.

"Being able to talk to everybody and learn, how everybody goes about being native," says Caley Wesberry.

"I'm proud of my granddaughter being here because she's getting involved in everything," says resident Lena Maturino.

The theme of this year's conference was "The Roots of Our Generation, Perpetuating Unification." It started Friday afternoon and was set to wrap up Saturday with a game of stickball.

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