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Southern Miss displays flags for Native American nations

October 24, 2021 GMT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — The University of Southern Mississippi is now displaying flags to recognize students enrolled there from six Native American nations.

The flags were dedicated during a ceremony Oct. 15 in the student union building. They are for the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the United Houma Nation, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the White Earth Nation of the Ojibwe Tribe.

“At most institutions, the campus union is considered a non-academic ‘heart’ of campus, or the campus ‘living room,’ if you will,” Denny Bubrig, vice president of student affairs, said in a university news release. “One of our goals is recognizing the backgrounds, experiences and lives of our students, and in doing this, we want to make sure our community sees the union services, resources, and capabilities as accessible to all.”

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Three years ago, the university placed flags in the union to recognize international students.

“Earlier this summer, as we were considering other ways to recognize our students and what they bring to the table, we realized we could do a similar project calling attention to the Native American students in our campus community,” Bubrig said.

Tammy Greer is a psychology professor, adviser to the Golden Eagles Intertribal Society and co-director for the Center for American Indian Research and Studies. She said she and Native American students at USM are grateful for the effort to recognize their nations.

“I appreciate Dr. Bubrig’s work to have our flags displayed in the union and celebrate our Native students,” Greer said. “It takes extra effort to look around and notice what is missing, which groups have been left out, and then step up to make sure they are included. And, as we just celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day, this event is right on time.”