Native American Student Body offers opportunities for social connection, networking

Victor Andrews, president of the Native American Student Body and graduate student in kinesiology, says the goal of the organization is to educate people and give members the opportunity to self-actualize in college. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Victor Andrews, president of the Native American Student Body and graduate student in kinesiology, got involved in the organization as a way of connecting with people.

“We are a group that expresses ourselves whether it be as [a] cultural identity or religion,” Andrews said.

Laura Baldwin, freshman in computer science and member of NASB, said being a part of the organization has been important for her as well.

“[NASB is] both a social group and a way we can talk and meet with people like us,” Baldwin said. “People who come from the same background, and who struggle with the same things.”

Throughout the year, NASB holds a number of cultural events.

“So, last semester we had our Native American Heritage Event where we invited members from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation to come share some of their history, and where they are going from here,” he said.

Andrews, who is currently working on his doctoral dissertation, says beyond the events, being involved with the organization has shaped his mindset.

“I recognized that, while we are all different, there are a lot of things that are very similar as far as the issues and barriers that have been faced,” he said.

For instance, Andrews said, an issue common among a lot of tribes is the lack of recognition. Due to the implementation of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, the process can be an uphill battle.

“There’s 574 recognized Native American Indian tribes, and there are a lot more that are currently being recognized,” Andrews said.

Another issue Andrews said a lot of individuals face is the portrayal of the modern Native American. Oftentimes, he said, the portrayal is inaccurate or incorrect.

But NASB can also open doors for members. During a national conference she attended through NASB in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she was able to network.

“The conference was really impactful,” Baldwin said. “And I am actually in the process of getting an internship from a company that I met during the ACS conference. So, I’m really excited. It’s not set in stone yet, but it’s a connection I would have never made if I were not in NASB.”

NASB meets every at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in K-State Student Union Room 003.