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Native American Programs Many Nations. One Community.

WSU junior Ermia Butler brings awareness to Native American heritage

Native American Programs proud to see Ermia Butler’s work brought to the attention of the entire campus community. The following is taken directly from the WSU insider article and WSU homepage post written to show the hard work and dedication of our students.


From a young age, Ermia Butler knew she would pursue a career that would support her tribe, but she didn’t quite know what it would be.

An enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Butler grew up in Pendleton, Oregon, on tribal land, where she attended the reservation’s charter school. Her teachers, many of them college-educated, provided her with strong role models and helped her apply to college.

“I’m a first-generation student, but in high school I was supported really well,” Butler said.

In the United States, only 19% of 18- to 24-year-old Native American students are enrolled in college, according to data from the Postsecondary National Policy Institute. Overall, 41% of Americans in that age group are enrolled in college.

“For some Native students, if they do want to attend school and no one can help them, they have to figure it out on their own and struggle with the process,” Butler said.

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Communicating Health in an Era of Mistrust

The November 9th panel discussion, “Communicating Health in an Era of Mistrust,” focuses on culturally meaningful communication to promote vaccination, and will serve as a catalyst to engage the community in discussions and dialogues surrounding diversity, equity, inclusion, race, and social justice issues.

Launched in October 2020, the “Power of Voice” speaker series by the Edward R. Murrow College Of Communication celebrates how we express our unique style, personality, experience, and opinion by using our voices. At their worst, our voices disseminate misinformation, disinformation, and hate. At their best, we can use our voices to break down systemic barriers and open doors that may have otherwise remained locked.

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