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Lillian Casillas
First Nations Educational and Cultural Center

Pamela Freeman
Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs

George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, February 2, 2009

Haskell Indian Nations University president keynotes program on Native Americans in higher education

Feb. 2, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Dr. Linda Sue Warner, president of Haskell Indian Nations University, will be the keynote speaker of a symposium Friday (Feb. 6) at Indiana University on Native Americans in higher education.

Dr. Linda Sue Warner

IU's Commission on Multicultural Understanding (COMU) is presenting the symposium "Native Americans in Higher Education: Current Issues and Future Directions" at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, 275 N. Jordan Ave., beginning at 10:30 a.m.

The event is part of the COMU's mission to enhance the campus climate through education. This year's annual retreat will look at the current experiences of Native American students in institutions of higher education. Students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to increase their understanding of issues and about paths to improved outreach and support systems for Native American students on campus.

The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited at the luncheon and participants must contact Lillian Casillas, interim director of the IU First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, at, by Tuesday (Feb. 3) in order to attend.

"It is an unusual and exciting opportunity for IU faculty, staff and students to have the opportunity to interact with the president of a university like Haskell," said Pamela W. Freeman, IU associate dean of students and director of the Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs.

"Dr. Warner's personal experiences as a member of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma and professional roles as an educator will provide insight and wisdom that can be extremely useful to those in attendance, as they learn about a population on our campus and in our communities about whom little is often understood," Freeman added.

"I believe that as we take steps to increase the Native American student population, we also need to address the campus climate," said Casillas. "The key is education and this symposium is a first step."

Warner has an extensive history working in education. She began her career as a second grade teacher at Curryville Elementary School in Bowling Green, Mo., and later moved into secondary education and higher education. She spent 18 years working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs on federal reserve land in Alaska, New Mexico, Kansas and Arizona, while completing advanced degrees from Pennsylvania State University and the University of Oklahoma.

She was serving as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Tennessee Board of Regents before being named president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kan. Haskell is celebrating its 125th anniversary of serving American Indian and Alaska Native Nations students this year.

The symposium will begin with presentations of papers and other research. Following the noon keynote speech by Warner, the program will continue at 2 p.m. with session, "Native Americans in Indiana." A session focusing on student reflections will begin at 4 p.m.

At 6 p.m., the event will move to the Community and Leadership Development Center in Read Residence Center for a film and discussion, "Our Spirits Don't Speak English: Indian Boarding Schools."

Other sponsors of the event are the American Indian Student Association, First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, the Indiana Memorial Union, the Native American Graduate Student Association and Residential Programs and Services.