by Shana Lombard, Communications Assistant


Twenty five years ago at UNC-Chapel Hill, the country’s first Native American-based Greek letter organization formed with the intent to generate a much-needed sisterhood for Indigenous women at a university level.

As the organization reached it’s silver anniversary, the WSU Provisional Chapter of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority, Inc (formerly WSU Expansion Chapter) brought the celebration to the Palouse with Foundations Week, a week dedicated to honoring the organization and all it has done for its membership.

Alpha Pi Omega WSU Chapter members. Back row (l-r): Isabel Walker, Elsie Cree, Hailey Crow. Front row (l-r): Kaitlin Srader and Shana Lombard. (photo courtesy of APiO)

The WSU Chapter of Alpha Pi Omega formed in the spring of 2018. They are the first Native American sorority at any university in the state.

The 25th anniversary events consisted of passing out cupcakes with post-it notes of encouragement, hosting a “Powwow Sweat” workshop and a yoga workshop. Kaitlin Srader (Navajo), Chapter President, said the week is to honor all aspects of the Sisterhood. Srader is a founding chapter sister of the sorority.

“A couple of our events honor different pillars of the sorority,” Srader said adding that the other events honor other aspects of being Indigenous.

Shana Lombard (Cowlitz), another founding chapter sister, added that the other events are more for the celebratory aspect of potlatch, or giving away items to thank those who partake in the celebration of a milestone. Hailey Crow (Suquamish) donated one pair of earrings for an online giveaway the sisters did on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The sisters are grateful for their presence on campus and the impact they’ve contributed to Washington State University students. Isabel Walker shared how impactful celebrating Foundations Week was for her as a newly initiated sister.

“As a sister, these events meant a lot to me,” said Walker. “Not only did it help us to interact with our fellow students more, but it also helped us to take a moment and look back on all we’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time.”