By Fawn Byron
The beating of a hand drum followed by a voice singing a round dance song, sung by Antoine Edwards, Jr. It was all part of the UNL Visit Day for the Native American Caucus here at Lincoln High. Native students went on a trip to the university to learn about college and scholarships along with other Native American students from schools around Lincoln and even some students from a community college.
The trip is put on by the UNL Multicultural Admissions Department, and they are trying to recruit more people to go to UNL to increase diversity, so that the students can learn from each other.
The purpose of the Native American Visit Day is so that young Native students can come and speak to other Native students in higher education about two important topics: college life and scholarships. That can be very helpful for the needs and interests of Native students.
“I hope the kids get their feet on the college campus and see themselves there,” said LPS Indian Education Advocate Kris Ross. “That they see that they belong there as much as everybody else that is there. And for them get familiar with it.”
Ross also said she loves to have the students hear speakers that have been where the kids have been that have made it. The speakers were an inspiration to the kids, they could relate to them and let them know it’s not impossible. That they can do it if the set their minds to it.
At this Visit Day the students that had questions about college were able to get them answered by UNL college students. Some very good information and advice came from the college students. A few tips included the message that high school really does matter. They told us to try hard and strive for the very best we can, because at the end of the day, it all really does matter. And to make sure to stay on top of your ‘A’ game, because when you get to college it’s way more work, so get good practice in while you can.
They also informed students about many different scholarships that are available to the ones that want them. They let them know to apply to all the scholarships you can because it’s very likely that you will get rejected by a few of them. There are a lot of Scholarships that someone Native students can apply for, and many of them go unused, because students aren’t aware of them.
In the second half of the trip, the high school students got to learn about Native organizations on campus like the University of Nebraska Inter-Tribal Exchange (UNITE), OASIS, and The Indian Center. UNITE is a group consisting of Native Americans and Indigenous people that promote cultural awareness and put on activities based around Native American awareness. Oasis Academic Success and Intercultural Service works with all UNL students and they emphasize working with the ethnic minority students and students receiving Diversity Enhancement Scholarships.
The Lincoln Indian Center is a Native center that tries to provide a Native American community by creating and obtaining programs that empower self-sufficiency and positive quality of life standards in individuals and families, according to the Indian Centers official website, IndianCenterInc.org.
At the end of the day all the students got to enjoy a performance by Antoine Edwards, Jr. Edwards performed some hand drum songs of his native language and a few round dance songs. The kids were also provided with T-shirts to remind them of the fun Visit Day they attended.
LHS junior Davina Falcon was one of the many Native American students to attend the Visit Day to UNL. Falcon plans on going to college, not knowing where at yet, and wants to major in nursing. She enjoyed the speakers from the trip, and having them answer her questions about UNL and the different majors they have there, what the requirements are to go there, the different things you need to know to go there, and what type of scholarships there are that you could apply to. “UNL is a great, diverse college,” Falcon said.