Norma Marshall, of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, is a student advisor and instructor of Native American Studies at the College of the Muscogee Nation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

Educator Spotlight: Norma Marshall

Simon Moya-Smith
10/20/12

Norma Marshall, of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, is a student advisor and instructor of Native American Studies at the College of the Muscogee Nation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

In 1986, Marshall received her baccalaureate in education with an emphasis in English and physical education from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. A year later, she went on to receive a master of science in counseling and student personnel, with an emphasis in secondary education, from Oklahoma State University.

Although Marshall discovered early in life that she wanted to become a teacher, she said she never thought she would end up an instructor of higher education.

“I knew I wanted to teach, but I did not think I would get to the higher education level,” she said. “I feel like I was prepared for this by many, many people.”

The daughter of a Muscogee who attended boarding schools, Marshall said tribal colleges and universities “give our Native American students a tie to their cultural identity.”

“There are those who have never learned about their heritage as Native American people,” she said. “Textbooks [at] public schools just glance and they really don’t cover the true history. So we get a little more in-depth.”

Marshall, who is also a bilingual educator of the Muscogee language, said there is money available for the students who’d like to earn their education.

“With the College of the Muscogee Nation, even though the students fill out the form for federal financial aid, we do have an appropriation from our national council for scholarships and tuition wavers,” she said. “So that opportunity is there.”

And unlike mainstream universities, Marshall said the College of the Muscogee Nation is centrally focused on indigenous history, rights and unrelenting encouragement.

“Our core requirements cover classes such as Indian land issues, tribal court systems, Native American history [and] Native American tribal governments,” she said. “Our students also experience a tie to the language.… We encourage them with everything we have.”

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