NSUOK.EDU / 02 OCTOBER 2014/
(Tahlequah, Okla.)—Each year the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) names 40 recipients for the “Native American 40 Under 40” award.
These individuals are emerging leaders from across Indian Country who have contributed in business and/or their communities through leadership roles, initiatives and dedication.
This year’s award recipients include a former NSU employee and a former NSU student who is currently employed at NSU.
Sedelta Oosahwee (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation) served as the coordinator for Student Programs in the Center for Tribal Studies at NSU before transitioning into the position of associate director for the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education Office.
Oosahwee, a Tahlequah native, focused mainly on success strategies for students of color in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. She explained that giving back has never been anything that has required extra thought for her.
“I am not sure I really know any other way than to give back to my community. I grew up watching my parents and other family members model this behavior,” Oosahwee said. “I grew up with the understanding that I represent not only my family, but my tribe. You take care of your elders and the youth. You always give back to those less fortunate.”
Although Oosahwee does not currently work for NSU, she explained that the invitation to apply for her current position was a dream come true and that she still has many ties to the NSU community. Her family has deep connections with the university, where her mother was employed until retirement, her father earned two degrees and currently teaches Cherokee language, and her sister graduated.
“I loved my time at NSU and met some people that have become mentors and family to me, like Dr. Amy Aldridge Sanford” Oosahwee said. “I also had the opportunity to work with the greatest and most important valuable people at the university, the students. I still keep in touch with many of them and have followed their progress as they continue their education in master’s programs and doctoral degree programs. I am so proud of them!”
Amber Fite-Morgan (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) earned a Bachelor or Arts in Communication from NSU and currently serves as NSU’s General Counsel.
Fite-Morgan, a Muskogee native, also conveyed a message of the importance of a service-oriented lifestyle.
“I believe that giving back to your community is one of the most important things a person can do,” Fite-Morgan said. “I think many people have privileges that others can only dream of, such as education, public servants, running water, electricity, etc. One way we can show gratitude for what we have is by simply giving back.”
All award recipients will be presented at NCAIED’s 39th Annual Indian Progress in Business Awards Gala (INPRO) on Oct. 8, 2014 at RES Wisconsin at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino.
For a complete list of award recipients, visit ncaied.org.