national women s history month steering committee presents beverly russell

May 10, 2010

On Thursday, March 3 the National Women's History Month Steering Committee presented speaker Beverly Russell as a National Women's History Month Lecture.

 

Russell is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe, which in 1912 became a sovereign nation. They are a matrilineal tribe, which practices traditional healing methods and whose members are fluent in their tribal language.

Russell has had a greater vision of the world since she was in fifth grade, even though her tribe was very isolated. She attended high school outside of the reservation, and during that time tried to overcome many stereotypes regarding Native Americans. She then attended university, where she and other Indian woman founded the first Native American sorority.

Concerning some experiences, she said, 'It was difficult because there was a lot of ignorance.'

Russell became the coordinator for HIV issues at the American Indian Community House in New York City. Her outreach with this organization was her greatest educational experience. She has also worked on the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs to oversee legislation on Indian health care. Currently she is the executive director of the National Council of Urban Indian Health where she advocates with current administration and Congress for additional resources and sheds light on urban Indian issues.

Russell stated that she first realized how lucky she was when, as a first generation college graduate, she looked back on her childhood as a member of a poor family who faced much discrimination.

'Education plays a big role in not only furthering family goals and those of your own, but in uplifting your community,' she said.

She urged the audience to never take any opportunity for granted.

'Take advantage of your time here at school and recognize that you will have to take responsibility for the choices you make in life.'

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