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President Nichols Talks With Tribes About Improving Native Enrollment At UW

University of Wyoming

Earlier this month, University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols made a second visit to the Wind River Reservation to continue discussions about how to improve Native American enrollment at UW.

During Nichols’ previous tenure as University of South Dakota provost she set a goal of increasing Native American enrollment to better reflect the percentage of the state’s native population. Now, she’s set a similar goal at UW.

James Trosper with the High Plains American Indian Research Institute said, in the 90s when he was a student, the university worked hard to attract native students.

“It was a lot of work that was being done with Native American students back then,” said Trosper. "And I’ve seen a drastic drop in enrollment since that time. But I would say right now we’re probably at an all time low as far as enrollment goes of Native American students here at UW.”

Trosper said there are only 82 native students enrolled now. To reflect the percentage of the native population in Wyoming that would need to increase to around 300.

During her visit, Nichols talked with tribal councilors and school administrators about how to make UW more welcoming. Some ideas include  constructing an American Indian Center and assigning a special native recruitment officer.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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