LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas and the Office of Native American Initiatives is proud to share that three KU students were invited to and attended two prestigious events in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14 and 15.
Native youth from across Indian Country joined together to attend the annual White House Tribal Youth Forum hosted by the White House, United National Indian Tribal Youth (U.N.I.T.Y.) and the Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) at the Aspen Institute.
Representing KU, undergraduates Kylie Kookesh (Tlingit), Delilah Begay (Diné) and Hayley Harman (Prairie Band Potawatomi) participated in programs with high-level administration officials and special guests and engaged in important conversations that impact Native communities including mental health, climate change, food sovereignty, education and more.
Following the forum, First Lady Jill Biden invited the students to visit the White House for a Celebration of Native American History Month.
Assistant Director and Native American Student Success Coordinator Lori Hasselman (Delaware/Shawnee Tribes of Oklahoma) is grateful for the continued connection with CNAY that facilitated this wonderful opportunity for KU Native students. “We have such a tremendous pool of high-achieving Native students at KU, and I am excited that the three students participating in this honor are a great representation of Jayhawks at the Capitol.”
About the students
Kylie Kookesh (Kyałxtin) is Tlingit, Deisheetaan (Raven, Beaver) from Shdeen Hít (Steel house) in Angoon, Alaska. Kookesh is currently studying elementary education and aspires to return to her hometown to set an example as a consistent long-term teacher, creating culturally relevant curriculums that inspire students to succeed in and after school. She is also a Multicultural Scholar and recipient of the Billy Mills Scholarship.
Delilah Begay, a citizen of the Navajo Nation from Ganado, Arizona, is a double major in film & media studies and linguistics. Begay aspires to work in the film industry and bring representation and a voice to those like her. She is also a McNair Scholar and a Chief Manuelito Scholar.
Hayley Harman, of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation from Hoyt, is studying human biology with the goal to attend medical school at the KU School of Medicine to become a doctor. Harman is a member of the KU First Nations Student Association, KU Women in Medicine, KU Pre-Medical Society and KU Club Softball team.
Photo: From left, Delilah Begay (Diné), Hayley Harman (Prairie Band Potawatomi) and Kylie Kookesh (Tlingit) were invited to take part in the 2022 White House Tribal Youth Forum.