John Little, Ph.D., director of Native recruitment and alumni engagement, said the goal of the event is “to connect Native Student Services and other USD resources with Vermillion Public Schools, local families and current high school students.”

The event will include a resource fair for students and families, featuring organizations like the Heartland Humane Society, Vermillion Boys & Girls Club, Community Connection Center, Vermillion School District, as well as a few additional USD and community organizations.

In addition, the Celebrating Our Community event will feature food from Heck’s BBQ and performances by Kobe Jordan, a Native American musician of the Ihanktonwan Yankton Sioux Tribe, and Frank Waln, a nationally recognized Sicangu Lakota speaker, producer, and artist from the Rosebud Reservation. Waln has been featured on MTV and ESPN and has won several awards including three Native American Music Awards.

Celebrating Our Community is supported by a grant from the Clayton & Odessa Lang Ofstad Foundation (CDLOF). NSS and Vermillion Public Schools submitted a grant application titled, “Bridging K-12 & Higher Education: Creating Community Partnerships for Native Students & Families,” to the foundation last year, and the CDLOF awarded the groups $50,000 to form a partnership. This event is the first collaborative event hosted as part of the partnership, and the groups plan to host other events this semester and next spring.

The event on Sept. 13 is intended for Native students and families; however, it is free and open to the public.

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