Keturah Peters, a senior in the nursing school at the University of Pennsylvania, has attended seven Ivy Native Conferences throughout her collegiate career. However, this year’s Annual Ivy Native Council Spring Conference was particularly special for the soon to be graduate. Natives at Penn (NAP) – an organization that Keturah is closely involved with – had been selected to host this year’s conference.
“I made it a goal to bring this conference to UPenn, where it hasn’t been since 2013,” said Keturah. “I am beyond grateful for all the support I received from the Greenfield Intercultural Center and all of my close friends and extended family in Philadelphia. With very few members in Natives at Penn it was extremely difficult to plan a conference that consisted of fundraising, hosting, venues, food, speakers, and travel. On top of rigorous class schedules and work. It has been one of my most rewarding moments to have these Native Students express how great of a conference it turned out to be.”
The annual conference was held at the University of Pennsylvania from April 6 to April 8. Each semester one of the eight Ivy League Schools is chosen to host the Ivy Native Summit in the Fall and another school hosts it in the Spring. Each conference brings together about 150 Native and/or Indigenous Students from Ivy League and surrounding prestigious institutions.
The 2018 theme for the conference was “Navigating Two Worlds.” The conference featured speakers and conversations focused on the challenges Native Americans face in these higher institutions, how to thrive within these spaces, and how to transfer those skills, abilities and experiences to make a positive impact on Indian Country.
“I think one of the greatest take away from conferences such as these are the expanded community that it creates. As Natives in Ivy Leagues schools, we face very similar challenges within school and within our communities and it is important that we come together to share those experiences and to support each other,” said Keturah. “I am hoping that our conference was empowering and inspiring and allowed students to get to know each other and form long lasting connections.”