CN citizen helps create UCO scholarship
EDMOND, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizen Laurin Keen is a senior at the University of Central Oklahoma who recently helped create a $1,500 scholarship to benefit the current and future Miss Native American UCO pageant winners.
Keen previously held the title but said when she was Miss Native American UCO it was more of an ambassador position and it offered no scholarship. She said it’s important to have a scholarship for the Miss Native American UCO winner because other pageants on campus have scholarships in place for their respective winners.
“We tried to get the pageant going for a couple of years and it didn’t really have the support,” she said. “When I came back this semester, I asked again if we could have the scholarship pageant and finally my advisor said ‘yes, you can have it.’ We started planning.”
Because the pageant was in the planning stages, Keen said she and others raised funds for the scholarship through various outlets.
“We sold ads. We took donations. My mom made a blanket to auction off and that money went towards the scholarship,” she said. “We have several pieces of art that different artists donated to me at the Cherokee Art Market. I went and just all these really amazing artists donated pieces of work so we could auction those off and that money will go towards the scholarship, also.”
Keen said the artists’ donations were something that she greatly appreciated.
“There were several artists that just blew me away,” she said. “Out of the kindness of their hearts they just donated their own artwork and that really touched me. They didn’t have to do that, and I think it’s great that people appreciate education and that they’re supporting Native American women’s pursuit of higher education at UCO.”
The scholarship is now available to those who win Miss Native American UCO, and Keen said she hopes to see more Native women competing in the pageant.
“It was really an honor to get to hold that position and represent yourself, your tribe and school,” she said. “We’re all students in college and scholarships help everyone. I think it’s definitely an incentive.”
Keen said she and others are trying to establish the scholarship pageant as an annual event and hopes it help others in the future.
“It was really important for me to establish this pageant because I know there are so many great Native American women on our campus, and I really feel like they needed a outlet and an opportunity to showcase their cultural knowledge and everything that they have to share about their own tribes, which is way more than I could have shared about their tribes,” she said. “It’s one thing for me to share about the Cherokee Nation, but to provide this event there were people that saw several cultures and heard several languages.”
The current Miss Native American UCO, Jessica New Moon, who was crowned on Nov. 7, will receive $750 for each of the two semesters she is Miss Native American UCO.
Keen graduated from Sequoyah High School in 2011. At SHS, she played sports and was valedictorian of her class. She also received the Gates Millennium Scholarship and other scholarships.
Keen, an elementary education major, said she attends UCO because of its teaching program.
“I feel really passionately about education. I think it’s a really important part of my life, and I think it really helps others,” she said. “I just felt like this is my way of giving back to the community, and really how I can make a difference is by being a teacher and being a good teacher because I had really good teachers that really impacted me and that kind of inspired me to go into education.”
Edmond, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ.--ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎨᎳ Laurin Keen ᏗᏍᏆᏗᏍᎩ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ University of Central Oklahoma ᎾᏍᎩ ᎾᏞᎬ ᎤᎵᏍᏕᎸᏓ ᎪᏢᏅ 1,500 ᎢᎦ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎾᏈᏴᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᏃᏊ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏩᎦᏔᏔᏒ Miss Native American UCO ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎤᎾᏓᏒᏅᎢ.
Keen ᎾᏞᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏥᎨᏒ Miss ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ UCO ᎤᎪᏛ ᏏᏃ ᎠᏥᏅᏏᏓ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ Ꮭ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᏯᎵᏍᎪᎸᏕᎢ. ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᏅᏗ ᎤᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ Miss ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ UCO ᎤᏓᏒᏅ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᏐᎢ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏚᏂᎾᎢ ᎤᏅᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏒᏅᎢ.
“ᎣᎦᏁᎶᏔᏅ ᎣᎦᏂᎩᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᏔᎵᎭ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᏎᏃ Ꮭ ᏯᏂᎫᏍᏛᏍᎨᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ᏣᎩᎷᏨ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ, ᎠᏆᏓᏛᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎦᏲᎩᏁᏍᏗ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏙᎩᏯᏍᎬ ᎠᎾᏔ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏎᎦᏨ ᏦᎦᏘᏂᏙ ᎥᎥ ᎤᏛᏅ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎢᏥᏁᏍᏗ.’ ᎣᎦᎴᏅᎲ ᎣᏣᏛᏅᎢᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ.”
ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎯᎠ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎪᎯᏓ ᎠᏛᏅᎢᏍᏙᏗ, Keen ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎲ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎠᏂᏟᏏᏍᎬ ᏧᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᎤᏂᏍᏆᎸᎡᎲᎢ ᎬᏩᏙᏢᏗ ᎨᏒ ᏧᎬᏩᎶᏗ.
“ᏙᎩᎾᏗᏅᏒ ᎪᏪᎵ ᏗᎬᏩᏃᏪᎶᏗ. ᎣᎩᏟᏌᏅ ᎠᏕᎳ. ᎡᏥ ᏔᎷᏣ ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᎤᎾᏗᏅᏒ ᎤᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎬᏙᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ ᎢᎸᏍᎩ ᏙᎩᎭ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍ ᏧᎾᏓᎴᏅᏓ ᏧᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᏂᎾᏗᏅᏗᎢ. ᎠᏇᏅᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎤᎪᏓ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᎩᎾᏕᏅᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏕᎳ ᎤᏙᏢᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ, ᎾᏍᏊ.”
Keen ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎢᎦ ᎣᎦᎵᎮᎵᏨᎢ.
“ᎠᏂᏔᎵᎭ ᏗᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᎲᏍᎩ ᎠᎩᏍᏆᏂᎪᏒᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏘᏴ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᏝᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏎ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᏱᎨᏎ, ᎠᎴ ᎦᏓᏅᏖᏍᎬ ᎦᎵᎡᎵᎪ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎬ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᎫᏍᏛᏍᎬ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎦᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ UCO.”
ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᏃᏊ ᎠᎵᏍᎪᎸᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏓᏒᏅ Miss ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ UCO, ᎠᎴ Keen ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏚᎩ ᎤᏩ ᎤᎪᏩᏛᏗ ᎤᏂᎪᏛ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᎠᎾᏖᎳᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬᎢ.
“ᎢᎦᎢ ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏩᏌ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎸᏗ, ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ “ᏂᎦᏓ ᏦᏣᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎠᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎾᏂᎥᎢ. ᎢᎦᏃᎣᏍᏓ ᎯᎠ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ.”
Keen ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᎾᏁᎶᏗᏍᎪ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᏑᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎢᏳᏓᎵ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏚᎦ ᎣᎬᎭ ᏦᏧᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎤᏩᎦᏗᏗᏒᎢ.
“ᎢᎦᏃ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᎾᏓᎪᎾᏗᏍᎬ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏆᏅᏔ ᎤᏂᎪᏓ ᎠᏂᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ ᎠᏂᎨᏯ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᎠ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎨᎵᏍᎪ ᎤᏂᏂᎬᎦ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏜᏅᏓᏗᏍᏗ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᎢᏳᏅᏗ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎠᏂᎦᏔᎾᎥ ᎠᎴ ᏄᏓᎴᏒ ᎬᏩᏂᏃᎮᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎤᏅᏌ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᎢᏴ ᎤᎪᏓ ᎠᏯ ᎬᎩᏃᎯᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. “ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᎬᎩᏃᎮᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ, ᎠᏯ ᎬᏂᎨᏒ ᏯᏋᏗ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏁᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᎸᏍᎦ ᎢᏳᏓᎴᎢ.”
ᏃᏊ ᎠᏯᎥ ᎠᏔ Miss ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ UCO, Jessica New Moon, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᏥᏍᏚᎳᏅᎢ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᎦᎵᏉᎩᏁ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᏛᎩᏏ ᎦᎵᏉᎯᏧᏈ ᎯᎦᏍᎪᎯ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᏔᎵ ᎢᏧᎴᏅᏓ (2 semesters) ᎾᏍᎩ Miss ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎺᎵᎧ UCO.
Keen ᏚᏍᏆᏛ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᏏᏉᏲ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏔᎵ ᏯᎦᏴᎵ ᏌᏚ. ᎾᎿ ᏏᏉᏲ, ᏚᏁᎶᏅ ᏍᏆᏞᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏩᏌᎹᏗᏴ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎠᎴᏍᏊ ᎤᎩᏒ ᎾᎿ Gates Millennium Scholarship ᎠᎴ ᏗᏐᎢ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ.
Keen ᎾᏍᎩ elementary ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ major, ᎠᏗᏍᎬ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎪ UCO ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎾᏕᏲᎲᏍᎩ ᏯᎾᎵᏍᏗᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎤᏂᎲ ᏧᎾᏕᏲᏙᏗ.
“ ᎢᎦ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎠᎩᏱᎸᏐ ᎯᎠ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏓᏕᏲᎲᏍᎬᎢ. ᎨᎵᏍᎪ ᎢᎦ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎦᎴᏂᏙᎲ, ᎠᎴ ᎨᎵᎠ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎬᏩᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏙᏗ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ. “ᎯᎢᎾ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎲ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎥᎦᎦᏥᏁᏗ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᏙᎯᏳ ᏄᏓᎴ ᎢᎬᏩᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎦᏕᏲᎯᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎦ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎣᏍᏓ ᏗᏕᏲᎲᏍᎦ ᎠᎩᎧᎲ ᏥᏕᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏆᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏆᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᏗᏆᏕᏲᏗᎢ.”