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Presentation to Focus on School Mascots

by Rod Jones

The Oklahoma City University Native American Society will sponsor a presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday about controversial school mascots that are based on native culture. The presentation featuring two prominent Native American activists will be held in the Kramer School of Nursing room 135 at N.W. 27th Street and Blackwelder Avenue.

The presentation is free to the public as part of American Indian Week at OCU, which is being observed Monday through Friday.

Guest speakers are Star Yellowfish of the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians and director of Indian Education for Oklahoma City Public Schools (OKCPS); and Sarah Adams-Cornell, a member of the Choctaw Nation who recently led the effort for Oklahoma City to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

Yellowfish will speak on the subject of Native American mascots and her work with Capitol Hill High School to change their mascot.

Adams-Cornell and her family have taught thousands of children about Native American culture through presentations in the Oklahoma City metro area. This began in an effort to replace Land Run re-enactments in her daughter’s school. In 2014 she was a part of the group that successfully worked to eliminate the re-enactments and a controversial mascot from Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Adams-Cornell, in conjunction with OKCPS Native American Student Services, recently launched the Oklahoma History Day program, a diverse and inclusive account of Oklahoma history as an alternative to Land Run re-enactments in Oklahoma City public schools. She believes that all children benefit from an accurate education about state and U.S. history.

Yellowfish received her Ph.D. in adult and higher education at the University of Oklahoma. Her dissertation was titled “Strategizing Success: Narratives of Native American Students in Higher Education.” Her research and expertise includes Native American student retention in higher education, Native American student success factors, peer mentoring and coping mechanisms for Native American students.

Yellowfish received her Bachelor of Arts in communication from Arizona State University and her Master of Education in adult and higher education from the University of Oklahoma.

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