“This is what our university should be about. Our students should get the opportunity to learn from our past.”
President Michael Shonrock joined Chief Paula Pechonick of the Delaware tribe to announce the placement of a new Delaware Tribe Historic Preservation office on campus Nov. 16 in the Roe R. Cross room in the Memorial Union.
“The Delaware tribe was removed from Kansas in 1867, and we are glad to be back,” Pechonick said.
Shonrock called the occasion an opportunity to share ideas.
“I was so optimistic and excited about this,” Shonrock said. “This is what our university should be about. Our students should get the opportunity to learn from our past.”
Marie Miller, dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of music, said the university is “thrilled” to expand the partnership.
“This is our distinct pleasure,” Miller said.
Brice Obermeyer, Delaware tribe historic preservation officer and associate professor of anthropology, said the Delaware Tribe Historic Preservation office has been a part of Emporia since 2004. He also said they hope to provide resources to the history program and that their campus office will provide more research for the students and faculty.
“Being here at ESU helped me continue research dedicated to the tribe,” Obermeyer said.
The project has been in the works for the past eight years, Pechonick said.
“I am looking forward to working with ESU and President Shonrock,” Pechonick said. “He seems to find ways to do things. He has a ‘can do’ attitude.”
Pechonick said the Delaware tribe is also planning to reestablish many of its projects, such as providing medical and utility assistance for all tribal members. They also offer an optical assistance program for students and a prescription medication assistance program for tribal members over the age of 55.
The tribe established the Residential Energy Assistance Challenge program, a competitive grant program brought about through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act that aims to “minimize health and safety risks that result from high-energy burdens on low-income Americans, prevent homelessness as a result of the inability to pay energy bills, increase efficiency of energy usage by low-income families, and target energy assistance to individuals who are most in need.”
“The immediate thing that we can provide to ESU is internships,” Pechonick said. “We plan to also provide historical tribal information, geographic information system mapping, language programs and geological programs.”
The new Delaware Tribe Historic Preservation office will be located in Roosevelt Hall, room 212A.