- By Rich Tupica
NORMAN, Okla. — A $4.8 million gift from the Horizon Foundation of Dallas will help establish the University of Oklahoma (OU) as the premier center for Native American research and teaching with the launch of its Native Peoples Initiative.
“This gift fortifies the university-wide Native Peoples Initiative, led by the OU Native Nations Center, and will enhance our collective understanding and appreciation of the compelling landscape of Native experiences, benefiting all people,” said OU Interim President Joseph Harroz Jr. According to an OU statement, the initiative also “places the cultures of Native peoples and the sovereignty of Native Nations at the center of academic study across all three OU campuses.”
The university, which announced the news Monday, revealed the financial gift will establish three $1.5 million endowed chairs attracting nationally recognized scholars in Native American Studies: Native American spirituality and the environment, Native American history and culture and Native American language preservation and revitalization.
An additional $300,000 gift will underwrite a building study to provide a home for the OU Native Nations Center and the Native American Studies Department, as well as classrooms and spaces for community events and interdisciplinary research. Leading the Native Peoples Initiative is Amanda Cobb-Greetham, director of OU’s Native Nations Center, which was recently endowed by the Chickasaw Nation. She is the former chair of the OU Department of Native American Studies.
“This initiative highlights collaboration with Oklahoma’s 39 Native Nations,” Cobb-Greetham said. “We are committed to listening closely and responding to tribal needs and are establishing an advisory board, chaired by OU Tribal Liaison Officer Warren Queton, to ensure strong community engagement.” Horizon Foundation President Rod Sanders said he is thrilled to help support the new, colossal project.
“We believe it is important that there is a better understanding of Native American cultures, spirituality, values and views of the world,” Sanders said. “The highly regarded University of Oklahoma, situated as it is in a state where 39 Tribal Nations are headquartered, is the perfect location for an initiative of this size, scope and relevance.”
More Stories Like ThisNative American High School Graduate Sues School District for Forceful Removal of Sacred Eagle Plume at Graduation
Little Priest Tribal College Awarded a National Science Foundation Grant
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Donates $2.7 million to Sherman Indian High School for Career Pathways Program
New York Public Schools Banned from Using Native American Mascots
Harvard Kennedy School to Expand Work with Native Nations
Native News is free to read.
We hope you enjoyed the story you've just read. For the past dozen years, we’ve covered the most important news stories that are usually overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous People (MMIP) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools.
Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps. Most readers donate between $10 and $25 to help us cover the costs of salaries, travel and maintaining our digital platforms. If you’re in a position to do so, we ask you to consider making a recurring donation of $12 per month to join the Founder's Circle. All donations help us remain a force for change in Indian Country and tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.