During her time as a University of Oregon law student, Katherine “Katie” Staton turned to the Many Nations Longhouse to find a community of support and connection with the local Native community.
Now, she is returning to the UO as the new steward of the longhouse. She starts the new post April 1.
“As I was a student, I did not have family in Oregon and I was not able to travel home to southeast Alaska very often,” said Staton, who earned both a law and master’s degree in conflict and dispute resolution. “The longhouse community became family. Law school is a challenging environment. Having the longhouse community of other native students, alumni and community members was vital to my educational successes. Looking back, I would have struggled significantly without the support.”
Staton worked as a graduate employee, serving as an assistant steward from 2008 to 2010 under Gordon Bettles, who retired last spring. For the last 5 ½ years, Staton has worked as the tribal liaison, Native American program coordinator at the Oregon Youth Authority.
“Katie has been using her education to strengthen the native community in Oregon. I am very happy she is returning to her alma mater to serve in a significant way as steward,” said Jason Younker, assistant vice president and advisor to the president on sovereignty and government-to-government relations.
The Many Nations Longhouse opened in 2005 as a collaborative effort with Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes. It provides a place of community and cultural exchange for American Indian students at the UO.
“I am honored to have this opportunity to support our native students, tribes and communities,” said Staton, a Tsimshian (wolf) descendant and member of the Sitka Tribes of Alaska. “My hope is for our community to wrap itself around students when they come to the University of Oregon. The longhouse is a safe place to share culture and traditions and to find support. It is full circle for me. I want students to have the experience and support I had as a student.”
—By Heidi Hiaasen, University Communications