Good News!


Congratulations to NAS Student, Cornelia Vann for receiving the Cobell Scholarship. 

Cornelia Vann of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma:

Osiyo!  My name is Cornelia Vann—I am 4/4 Cherokee and a proud, enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.  As a non-traditional, first-generation college student, I raised a family first before starting on my endeavor to achieve a higher education. I realize that having a college education is very important in order to help with the many social issues that we as a people face in daily life.

In May of 2017, I earned an Associate of Arts degree in Sociology from OCCC.  I am currently a student at The
University of Oklahoma majoring in Native American Studies with and minoring in Sociology. I want to use my college education to encourage others like me that, yes, it is possible to achieve the awesome goal of graduating from college. Some of the wonderful achievements and opportunities that I have had thus far as a college student include being named to the President’s Honor Roll, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Civic Honors, the Cherokee Nation Scholar Program, and the Cobell Scholar program.  In addition, I have served as the Public Relations Officer for the Leadership Council, as President of the Native American Student Association, and as a Transfer Distinguished  Academic Scholarship recipient at the University of Oklahoma. Through hard work and dedication, I am making my dreams come true. The life skills that I have learned along the way have greatly helped with my educational goals, and I will use my education to be an advocate  working with and for my people. I have pledged myself to do this—it is within my heart.


The NAS Department was pleased to host the Peer2Peer - Two Sides of the Globe: Connecting Indigenous People on Friday, September 29th for lunch and entertainment in Ellison Hall.  


 NORMAN — The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is the recipient of the prestigious 2017 University Museums and Collections Award from the International Council of Museums, which was recently presented in Helsinki, Finland. The museum program that has been recognized for the international award is the Oklahoma Native American Youth Language Fair, a program that for 15 years has reached thousands of young Native Americans across Oklahoma and the Southwest.

“The university is proud of the well-earned international recognition received by our natural history museum,” said OU President David L. Boren.

Each spring, hundreds of students, parents, teachers, elders and community members attend the fair at the Sam Noble Museum on the University of Oklahoma campus. Now approaching its 16th year, the event celebrates language diversity and recognizes the efforts of students and teachers to revitalize Native American language and heritage.

The fair provides a unique opportunity for teachers and students to share their experiences in live presentations of song, speech and story. Students also compete in material submission categories that include poster art, films, books, cartoons and advocacy essays. Native language speakers, teachers and elders serve as judges for the competitions.

Among the many nominations, the fair stood out to the award committee because of its “innovation, creativity, excellence, transferability and significant impact on the university, the community and society at large.”

“This award, coming as it does after winning the national conservation award, the U.S. National Medal and the European Heritage Award, underscores the quality and diversity of the museum’s programs and the quality of the staff,” said Michael Mares, Ph.D. “I think the museum is among the best and most visible departments of the University of Oklahoma. The repercussions of the IMLS 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Services and the 2015 Best in Heritage award of the European Heritage Association, continues to impress museum professionals throughout the world with our remarkable story.”

ONAYLF began in April 2003 at the Sam Noble Museum when elder and teacher Geneva Navarro (Comanche), Native American educator Quinton Roman Nose (Cheyenne) and the museum's first Native American Languages curator, Mary Linn, sought to recognize the Native language teachers and students in Oklahoma. The fair has encouraged and supported the efforts of Native communities in Oklahoma and the surrounding region to document, revitalize and perpetuate their ancestral languages.

Providing a unique event to showcase linguistic diversity in Oklahoma, the fair contributes to the public’s understanding of the value of maintaining ancestral languages. Steady growth in attendance over 15 years has established it as a major celebration of indigenous languages.

The Sam Noble Museum was one of three finalists announced in June. The other two were the University of Rennes, France, and the National Cheng Kung University Museum, China.

The international committee for university museums and collections, UMAC is an international forum for all those working in, or associated with, academic museums, galleries and collections. As a global advocate for higher education museums and collections of all disciplines, the organization supports the continued development of university museums and collections as essential resources dedicated to research, education and the preservation of cultural, historic, natural and scientific heritage.

The Sam Noble Museum is located on OU’s Norman campus at J. Willis Stovall Road and Chautauqua Avenue. For more information, call (405) 325-4712 or visit

Heather Ahtone

Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25


Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts at 25 explores the first twenty-five years of a remarkable nonprofit printmaking and traditional arts studio based on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in eastern Oregon, the only such center located on a reservation community in the United States. Art historian Prudence Roberts, drawing from conversations with CSIA founder, the artist James Lavadour, narrates the institute's history from its beginnings through the establishment of a professional quality printmaking program and an international reputation. Native American art scholar heather ahtone and curator Rebecca Dobkins trace the development of indigenous printmaking in North America, further contextualizing this story. Over sixty color plates will illustrate selected work from the dozens of artists, indigenous and non-indigenous, who have completed residencies at CSIA since its founding, including luminaries of contemporary Native American art Rick Bartow, Joe Feddersen, Jeffrey Gibson, Edgar Heap of Birds, James Lavadour, Lillian Pitt, Wendy Red Star, and Marie Watt. 

HEATHER AHTONE is James T. Bialic Associate Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, University of Oklahoma. She is the editor of Photo/Synthesis: An Exercise in Artistic Sovereignty and From the Belly of Our Being: Art by and about Native Creation. REBECCA J. DOBKINS is professor of anthropology at Willamette University and curator of Native American art at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. She is the author of Marie Watt: Lodge and coauthor of Joe Feddersen: Vital Signs. PRUDENCE F. ROBERTS is professor of art history at Portland Community College. She is the coauthor of Frank Boyden: Prints and Books.

Edgar Heap of Birds, MFA

Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds, M.A.:

I contributed to this recent publication from Indian Country Today:

“Curation and Colonization in Art: A lively exchange about tone-deaf exhibitions and the institutions that fund them,” Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Missy Whiteman, and Ruth Hopkins, moderated by Ray Cook and Alex Jacobs, in Indian Country Magazine, Issue 3, Aug-Sept 2017. Website link:

Curation and Colonization in Art - Indian Country Media ...

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (author, Research Associate at the Center for World Indigenous Studies) Ruth Hopkins, (biologist, writer and judge), Shanna Ketchum-Hea

Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds, M.A.:

Special upcoming project: I was on the advisory committee for this event to take place Sept 2017 in New York City at LaMaMa Theater in the East Village:“LU!LU!LU!LU! An Evening Celebrating Spiderwoman Theater’s 40 Years,” LaMaMa in Association with Spiderwoman Theater Presents a Loose Change Production, Advisory Committee, 2017. Website link:

Celebrating Spiderwoman Theater's 40 Years | La

A theatrical evening of tributes by stellar admirers internationally honors Spiderwoman Theater’s contributions to Native, feminist, & avant-garde theatre.

Shanna Ketchum-Heap of Birds, M.A.:
This publication came out this summer 2017: “Native American Art History: Critical Interventions in Theory and Practice,” inTransforming Our Practices: Indigenous Art, Pedagogies, and Philosophies (National Art Education Association: Reston, VA, 2017): 207-210. Website link to book: