Cultural Engagement Center

NOC Partners with Otoe-Missouria for On-Site Enrollment


Otoe-Missouria On-Site EnrollmentNorthern Oklahoma College conducted an on-site enrollment event at the Otoe-Missouria education center on December 5, 2018. NOC students dropped by and enrolled for the 2019 spring and summer semesters.

Gina Conneywerdy, NOC’s Native American Recruiter and Advisor, met with Otoe-Missouria tribal members providing assistance with financial aid, tribal funding, bursar questions, and course enrollment.

The on-site enrollment event was part of the services provided by NOC’s Title III NASNTI grant. Additional members of the enrollment team were Dr. Rae Ann Kruse, NASNTI Grant Project Director and Anna Scott, Distance Learning Specialist. Gloree Tah, Director of Higher Education for the Otoe-Missouria Tribe assisted Scott with the enrollment event.

Conneywerdy said, “Through the NASNTI grant, we are able to provide more personalized student services for Otoe-Missouria students.”

NOC worked with the Tribe to create an access site in the Education Building where students can use NOC computers to take online classes or connect to ITV courses.

NOC is currently enrolling for the 2019 spring and summer semesters. Spring classes begin January 14, 2019. Four sessions of summer school run from May 18 to August 1. Fall 2019 classes are projected to begin August 19, 2019.

Joe Don Brave Honored with Artist Reception

Joe Don BraveNorthern Oklahoma College welcomed Osage artist Joe Don Brave to the Cultural Engagement Center Wednesday, November 28, for an artist reception.

The Cultural Engagement Center, located in the Vineyard Library/Administration Building was created by a Native American Serving Nontribal Institution (NASNTI) five-year $1.75 million grant.

The exhibit displays a number of selections of Brave’s art symbolizing Osage Nation and Cherokee culture. The exhibit will be on display through the fall semester.

The CEC is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily during the school year.

Brave, a Native American of Osage and Cherokee descent, was born Vincent Paul Brave, named after two famous artists, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gogan by his father, Franklin Brave, a successful professional artist and graphic designer.

Native American Heritage Month celebrated in November at NOC

Ted Moore, Native American Student Success SpecialistNorthern Oklahoma College will celebrate Native American Heritage Month with numerous activities in the month of November.

The following are the planned events and activities:

Nov. 7: Standing Bear Story, Harold Hall, Room 312, 10:30 a.m.

Nov. 9: Dance Exposition, Foster-Piper Fieldhouse (East gym), 10:30 a.m.

Nov. 12: Scavenger Hunt Begins, completed by Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.

Nov. 14: Stickball with Jake Roberts, Circle Lawn, 10:30 a.m.

Nov. 15: Rock your Mocs Day

Nov. 28: Free Taste Testing (Corn Soup/Fry Bread), Clock Tower, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Nov. 28: Joe Don Brave Artist Reception, Cultural Engagement Center, 10:30 a.m.

Native American Factoids will be on KAYE (The Source FM Radio, 90.7) all month and Native American music will be played across the NOC campus Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon – 1:30 p.m.

Joe Don Brave Exhibiting in the CEC

Joe Don Brave Osage artist Joe Don Brave has a number of paintings on display in the Northern Oklahoma College Cultural Engagement Center in the Vineyard Library.

Brave, a Native American of Osage descent, was born Vincent Paul Brave, named after two famous artists, Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gogan by his father, Franklin Brave, a successful professional artist and graphic designer.

Two weeks after Brave was born, his father decided to nickname him Joe Don after Oklahoma Sooner football legend Joe Don Looney. The name stuck and I have been Joe Don Brave ever since.

Brave moved to Oklahoma when he was nine and lived in Osage County with my Osage people till he went to college. He was raised in the tradition and customs of the Osages, and is still an active participant of annual traditional ceremonial dances.

His father was an accomplished artist, and though he passed away when Brave was eleven, he spent my childhood, being influenced by father’s skills and artwork.

“I still remember visiting him as a child, in his studio and being given markers and paper to create with alongside him.,” Brave said.

He studied art at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he learned the fundamentals of art and museum studies.

His career began as a Museum Technician at his tribal museum, the oldest tribal museum in the country, in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

His career continued at the National Museum of the American Indian; Smithsonian Institute in New York City. During his more than 10 years in New York City, he worked with other organizations such as Sotheby’s Auction House as an art handler, the Tibetan Museum of Art on Staten Island as Collections manager and the Native American Community House Art Gallery, as a Gallery Technician.

Besides his professional museum career and artwork, he has had the opportunity to work on a fishing boat off the coast of Monterey Bay, California, bar tending in New Mexico and landscaper in Colorado. After twenty years of working around the United States, he decided to return to Osage County and pursue his artwork full time.

“My artwork revolves around my heritage, emotions and expressions that I have picked up through my travels and adventures along the road, and while listening to my elder artists tell of their stories and experiences,” he said.

“I am the son of the Osage, part of its history and a product of its many changes endured over time. I am a citizen of the world, as such, seek to define my identity and place within these two worlds, which are but one,” he added.

The exhibit is set to remain in the CEC through the fall semester.

The CEC is open from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.

NOC Lectureship Livestreamed to the Kinzer Performing Arts Center


David Grann FlyerBest Selling Author David Grann will be appearing at Northern Oklahoma College Tonkawa Oct. 17 as part of the NOC Lectureship Series.

Tickets for the dinner are sold out but Grann’s lecture will be livestreamed to the Kinzer Performing Arts Center at NOC Tonkawa.

Tickets for the livestream event are free but should be reserved from the NOC Community Development Office in the Vineyard Library/Administration Building at NOC Tonkawa. Call 628-6214 for more details.

The event is sponsored by the Carl and Carolyn Renfro Endowed Lectureship Program, Northern Oklahoma College and the Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) Cultural Engagement Center located in the Vineyard Library at NOC Tonkawa.

Grann’s most recent book, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, was on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list more than 30 weeks and was a finalist for the National Book Award.


Hanna Wensman Speaks at "Natives Guiding Natives" Discussion

Northern Oklahoma College Native American Mentor Hanna Wensman shared her thoughts on student mentoring at a “Natives Guiding Natives” Panel Discussion at the Cultural Engagement Center at NOC Tonkawa Thursday afternoon.

Wensman is of Shawnee, Red Lake Ojibway and Muskogee (Creek) descent. She is one of 10 mentors for over 400 Native American students at NOC.

The mentoring program is managed by Native American Success Specialist Ted Moore as part of the Native American Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) grant.

Wensman earned a bachelor’s in Health Education and Promotion at Oklahoma State University where she served on the Sports Medicine Staff for Cowboy football. She is currently a Masters of Public Health student at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa.

When her graduate degree is completed, she wants to work within a tribal clinic’s health and wellness department.

Wensman addressed a number of issues in the panel discussion including advice for native American students.

“Find the proper balance between cultural obligations, school, and work,” she said. “I spend a lot of time talking to students about time management and how to balance all aspects of their lives. It is the most important thing to do.”

“It’s a challenge to balance school and culture together,” she added. “Family and culture are both so important to Native Americans and so there is pressure for students to go back home for cultural events that can interfere with school. That is a challenge to balance the two things because they both are important.”

Wensman said she is thrilled to be part of the mentoring program where she stays connected with around 35 students by e-mail every two weeks.

“I didn’t have mentors when I was in school at OSU,” she said. “It is so valuable to have someone that you can turn to when you’re having problems or just someone to talk to that has been where you are at. If nothing else, I try to encourage students to continue their education. I tried to find upper classman that could give advice on certain classes but I would have enjoyed that mentor relationship as a student.”

“I try to explain to students that I mentor that it’s not going to be easy and there are going to be challenges,” she added. “But the rewards of that degree are so important. Doors are opened that were never opened before. Students have to keep the ultimate goal of a degree as an incentive to work toward.”

She also tries to convey financial literacy to students that she mentors.

“That new pair of shoes may be cute or that video game may be a lot of fun to play but you have to take care of the priorities,” she said. “When you have rent to pay or an electric bill to pay, you pay it first and then you do the fun things later. You have to sacrifice the short term pleasure for long term goals.”

Wensman discussed her biggest challenge as a student.

“As an undergrad finding a study groove was hard for me,” she said. “It took the longest time for me to learn to manage my time. I had two jobs and was going to school, that’s tough to do. By my junior year, I found the balance that I needed.”

“As a graduate student, I lost two cousins to suicide and that’s been difficult. I was in Oklahoma City and alone and that was tough. That has been a challenge to overcome.”

When asked about her inspiration for getting and education, she talked about her mother.

“I apologize for getting emotional,” she said as her voice quivered. “But my mother drove 90 minutes to Northeastern State every day to go back to school when me and my brothers were little. She did it for us and now I see the sacrifice she made and the reason she did it. When I would complain about driving to Stillwater in the rain I would stop and think what my mom did and that inspired me to stay the course and reach my goals of a degree. She was such a great example.”

She also talked about maintaining her cultural identity from both native and non-native Americans.

“I’ve been told that I am ‘too white’ to be native,” she said. “That is very hurtful to hear but you can’t let what people say bother you. I am proud of my culture and just because I can’t go home for every cultural event doesn’t mean that I don’t love my culture and my family. I want to use the education I receive to help my culture in the future.”

Wensman also talked about giving back.

“I am studying Public Health because I want to give back to my community,” she explained. “I will never forget my roots and where I come from and that is so important for me. I hope the students I mentor can see that passion and encourage them to get an education and give back as well.”

The conversation was recorded and will be available for viewing on-line at a later date.

Title III Native American - Serving Nontribal Institutions

Program Description:

This program provides grants and related assistance to Native American-Serving, Nontribal Institutions to enable such institutions to improve and expand their capacity to serve Native Americans and low-income individuals.

This website provides information on the Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program authorized by the Higher Education Opportunity Act, 2008 (HEA, Title III, Part A, Section 319; CFDA# 84.031X) as well as the Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions Program Program originally authorized by the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (HEA, Title III, Part F, Section 371; CFDA# 84.382C).


NASNTI Part F Highlights:

  • The Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) program, part F is a federally funded grant through the U.S. Department of Education. It is for Institutions of higher education (IHEs) that have “an enrollment of undergraduate students that is not less than 10 percent Native American students; and are not a tribal college or university (as defined in Section 316 of the Higher Education Act)” (U.S. Department of Education).
  • The grant awarded under part F is a developmental grant that can be used for a particular set of activities as listed by the Department of Education’s website.
  • The project, entitled Merging Tradition and Technology: Engaging Native American and Low Income Students to Complete College, has identified a wide variety of activities through three main initiatives approved by the grant that will be implemented throughout the five years of the grant, October 2016-September 2021.
  • The first initiative will expand access to high demand, high quality courses by revising 30 existing online courses to meet Quality Matters standards; equipping access sites within tribal centers for each of the service area’s six tribes designed to serve as a computer lab and ITV classroom.
  • The second initiative is to develop high quality, interactive online services to support both on-campus and distance education students. NOC will have new and redesigned online services backed by a new data analytic tool that will allow staff to readily access student-level data in real time; provide an online learning readiness assessment, financial aid advising, academic advising, degree mapping, and transfer services.
  • The third initiative is to target Native American student success by establishing a Cultural Engagement Center (CEC) (COMING FALL 2017) within the Vineyard Library Administration building that will provide student support services, cultural activities, and professional development.
  • NOC will also provide resources to highlight Native American culture through language resource library within the Cultural Engagement Center and provide professional development opportunities for faculty and staff on approaches to support Native American student success.
  • Ted Moore, our Native American Student Success Specialist, will run the CEC by leading the development and piloting of culturally aligned individual coaching and other student support services. For more information, please see our contact page.