Skip to the content

Kansas State University

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  1. K-State Home >
  2. Media Relations >
  3. April news releases

Source: Myra Gordon, 785-532-6276,
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, will be the keynote speaker for Kansas State University's sixth Diversity Summit from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 3, in the Ballroom of the K-State Student Union. Her address, "It's Hard to See the Future with Tears in Your Eyes: The Way Forward for Indigenous People," will be at 10 a.m.

The theme for the 2009 summit is "Today's American Indian: Grounded in Tradition, while Reaching for the Future."

"For two years now, we have been trying to focus a summit on the issues of indigenous people in America without success. Now, thanks to the sustained efforts of a number of people, we have developed relationships in various Indian communities that will help the university better understand how to attract and serve these important multicultural populations," said Myra Gordon, K-State associate provost for diversity and dual career development. "The summit is a unique opportunity to showcase the openness and interest of the K-State community in indigenous people and to make our current diversity efforts increasingly inclusive. This is the realization of a dream and I am grateful for the trust being placed in us as a non-tribal institution of higher education."

Leslie Hannah, an assistant dean and assistant professor at Kansas State University at Salina and a Cherokee, helped to arrange Mankiller's appearance and will introduce her at the summit. Mankiller also will address classes from various disciplines from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. in the College of Architecture, Planning and Design's Pierce Commons in Seaton Hall. She will discuss the distinct identities and common values of contemporary indigenous peoples.

The summit also will feature an educators' panel, "On the Frontline: Educating Today's American Indian Student," organized by the Kickapoo Nation School; a community perspectives panel, "In Their Own Words: Everyday, Indians," organized by the Heart of America American Indian Center; and a campus reception at 3 p.m. where Mankiller will be honored.

The summit is sponsored by the President's Commission on Multicultural Affairs, the Diversity Advisory Council, K-State at Salina, the International Activities Council, the Native American Student Association and the provost's office. The summit costs $15 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Registration is available by contacting or 785-532-6276.