Native American Education Summit Set May 19 at WSU

PULLMAN, Wash. — Recruitment of Native American students to Washington
State University and their retention is the focus of the first Native American
Education Summit at WSU Friday, May 19.

Planned as the first of an annual event, leaders of tribes in Washington, Idaho,
Oregon and Montana have been invited to participate, said Herb Delaney,
assistant director for community relations of the WSU Office of Multicultural
Student Services.

Multicultural Student Services and the university’s Native American Advisory
Council are summit sponsors.

During the event’s general assembly, 9-11 a.m. in the Compton Union Building,
Rooms B 7-13, an overview and report of WSU Native American initiatives will
be presented by Barbara Aston, WSU assistant to the provost for Native
American affairs. She is an enrolled member of the Wyandotte Tribe of
Oklahoma. After lunch, there will also be breakout sessions, moderated by
WSU faculty members, in the same CUB location.

“The summit will bring together the people who have assisted in Multicultural
Student Services in recruiting Native Americans students to WSU. It allows
us, in a formal way, to thank them for their assistance,” Delaney said.
“Furthermore, tribal and university administrators, educators and community
leaders will discuss recruitment and retention strategies for Native American
students, an important part of WSU’s diversity commitment.”

In November 1997, WSU officials signed a memorandum of understanding with
tribal leaders from the Colville Confederated Tribes, the Confederated Tribes of
the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, the Kootenai Tribe,
the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Yakama Nation. A year later, memorandums were
signed with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead
Reservation and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of

According to the memorandums, WSU “recognizes and affirms for itself
established federal policies under which Native American tribal governments
are treated as distinct legal and political entities, with their own powers of
self-governance and self-determination…and wish to create with the Signatory
Tribes a structure to strengthen the relationships between them, and to
improve the quality of educational services and opportunities provided.”

“This summit represents the on-going commitment of WSU Multicultural
Student Services and Native American Advisory Council to continue to serve
and improve our educational outreach to tribes in the region and to Native
American students,” said Delaney.

In 1994, the Washington Legislature approved a bill requested by WSU
making members of tribes — including those in Idaho, Oregon and Montana
whose original lands included portions of the state — Washington residents
for tuition purposes.