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April 7, 2005
Contact: Cornel Pewewardy, KU School of Education, (785) 864-9687.

KU First Nations students to host Big 12 Native American conference, April 14-16


LAWRENCE -- Approximately 300 Native American students representing Big 12 schools will gather at the University of Kansas April 14 to 16 for the Big 12 American Indian Student Leadership Conference, hosted this year by the First Nations Student Association at KU. Events will be in the Kansas Union April 14 and in the Burge Union April 15 and 16.

Working with the theme "Retraditionalizing Indigenous Leadership: Student Voices of Fire," conference participants will address issues that Native American student organizations face on university campuses with predominantly white student populations.

Native-student organizations are vital and have relevant issues that must be addressed through systematic collaboration and intercultural education on all campuses with a Native student population, said Olivia Standing Bear, Lakota and Osage nations, and Jon Red Corn, Osage Nation, co-presidents for the First Nations Student Association.

An awards banquet is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, April 15, in the Burge Union. Awards will be given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to advancing leadership within their respective university organizations. This year's awards will recognize the year's top freshman, sophomore, junior and senior, as well as a graduate and law student representing the Big 12 schools. A faculty member and a staff member representing the Big 12 schools will also be recognized.

The conference will conclude with a powwow in Robinson Gymnasium with gourd dancing beginning at 2 p.m. and the grand entry at 7 p.m. The powwow, hosted by KU's First Nations Student Association, is free and open to the public.

Faculty advisers for FNSA at KU are Cornel Pewewardy, Kiowa and Comanche nations associate professor of education; Ray Pierotti, Comanche nation associate professor of biological sciences; and Santos Nunez, director of KU's multicultural affairs office.

Full conference details are available online at www.ku.edu/~nimma/BIGXIIFrontPage.htm.

Officers for the First Nations Student Association at KU, their hometowns and tribal heritages are:

JOHNSON COUNTY
From Lenexa
Alex Red Corn, Osage Nation, graduate student in education (curriculum and instruction), son of Raymond and Libby Red Corn; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School graduate; treasurer.
Jon Red Corn, Osage Nation, senior in architecture and urban design, son of Raymond and Libby Red Corn; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School graduate; co-president.
Raymond "Studebaker" Red Corn, Osage Nation, sophomore in chemical engineering, son of Raymond and Libby Red Corn; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School graduate; Student Senate representative.

CALIFORNIA
From Westchester
Jason Brightstar Lewis, Choctaw Nation, graduate student in indigenous nations studies, is a graduate of Modesto (Calif.) Junior College and attended the University of California at Los Angeles; Webmaster and listserve manager.

NEW MEXICO
From Fruitland
Delbert Joe, Dine' Nation, junior in engineering, attended San Juan College in Farmington, N.M.; FNSA ambassador to Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kan.

OKLAHOMA
From Pawhuska
Olivia Standing Bear, Lakota and Osage nations, senior in anthropology, daughter of Eugene and Patricia Standing Bear; Pawhuska High School graduate; co-president.

From Skiatook
Avis Ballard, Osage Nation, graduate student in indigenous nations studies; bachelor's degree from Haskell Indian Nations University; secretary.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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