The exchange project seeks to introduce Aboriginal Australian professionals, who are members of the Wiradjuri Mob, as well as other Aboriginal Australian nations, to Rotary District 5610 – which serves 39 clubs in South Dakota, northwestern Iowa and southwestern Minnesota – to experience different Indigenous cultures, share experiences and build connections.

“By bringing this group of Aboriginal Australian professionals to USD, we hope to foster connections and friendships between them and the Native community here on campus,” said Kevin O’Kelley, president of the Vermillion Rotary Club and assistant vice president of research compliance at USD. “This is what we hope will be the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.”

The Sept. 15 visit to USD will begin at 2 p.m. with a prayer and drum ceremony by the Coyote Nation Singers student drum group, led by Damon Leader Charge, director of tribal outreach. University President Sheila K. Gestring will extend a welcome to the visitors, followed by a tour of University Art Galleries’ current exhibition, “The Howe Legacy Across Four Generations Exhibition.”

Following the exhibition tour, the members of the Wiradjuri Mob will have time to network with and meet Native students at USD, including Marilyn Allen, Jayda Knuppe, Nick Kennedy, Angel Vasquez and Karlie Rouse, and learn more about their experiences in higher education. The visitors will also hear from Leader Charge, John Little, Ph.D., director of Native recruitment and alumni engagement; Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, director of Native Student Services; and Elise Boxer, Ph.D., director of the Institute of American Indian Studies, and learn more about their roles at the university.

The afternoon will conclude with a tour of the Native American Cultural Center.

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