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Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force Begins Work

Committee members named; group to study enrollment, support services

EVANSTON, Ill. --- A group of Northwestern University community members and others studying ways for Northwestern to augment its relationships with Native Americans has begun work, said Patricia Telles-Irvin, vice president for student affairs and co-chair of the group.

The Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force, which was formed earlier this year, has begun examining enrollment issues, practices at peer institutions and support services for Native Americans on campus, Telles-Irvin said. The task force will also respond to another committee’s report on John Evans’ role in the Sand Creek Massacre and its impact on Northwestern. The task force will make recommendations to the provost.

The group is led by Telles-Irvin and Phil Harris, a vice-chair of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees. Members of the task force are:

  • Mallory Black, graduate student, Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications (Navajo)
  • Lesley-Ann Brown, director of campus inclusion and community, student affairs
  • Forrest Bruce, undergraduate student and co-president of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (Ojibwa)
  • Onis Cheathams, associate director of admissions, undergraduate admissions
  • Mark Cleveland, alumnus, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (Cherokee descent)
  • Dona Cordero, assistant provost for diversity and inclusion, office of the provost
  • Loren Ghiglione, professor of journalism, former dean of Medill
  • Sean Harte, alumnus, Weinberg (Menominee)
  • Bethany Hughes, graduate student, School of Communication (Choctaw)
  • Carol Lee, professor of education, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Sarah Mangelsdorf, dean and professor, Weinberg
  • Ananda Marin, postdoctoral fellow in psychology, Ph.D., School of Education and Social Policy (African-American, Choctaw, European-American descent)
  • Doug Medin, professor of psychology, Weinberg, and professor of education, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Heather Menefee, undergraduate student and former co-president of the Native American and Indigenous Student Association
  • Peter Powell, founder and spiritual director, St. Augustine’s Center for American Indians, Chicago (Honorary Cheyenne Chief)
  • Mark Sheldon, assistant dean and distinguished senior lecturer, philosophy, Weinberg
  • Pamala Silas, executive director of the Native American Journalists Association and former CEO of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (Menominee)
  • Sarah Taylor, associate professor of religious studies, Weinberg
  • Amy West, assistant professor of clinical psychology in psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago (Southern Cheyenne, European-American descent)

“The task force has already been meeting and is developing a plan for thoroughly examining the relevant issues and developing recommendations for the president and provost,” Telles-Irvin said. “We’re off to a good start, and I’m confident we will be able to bring some thoughtful recommendations forward.”

The task force process will include reviewing enrollment data, benchmarking with peer institutions and partnering early with members of various Native American communities for input. In late May the task force will receive the first committee’s findings on the role John Evans played in the Sand Creek Massacre and its impact on the University. The task force will then recommend actions based on those findings.

“The work of the committee and task force members will provide us guidance on how Northwestern can increase its outreach to and develop stronger relationships with the Native American Nations,” President Morton Schapiro said. “I appreciate the willingness of the task force members to engage in this important process and I look forward to seeing the results of their work.”