K-State professor earns national award for dedication to improving Indigenous education

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TOPEKA — An assistant professor of education leadership at Kansas State University and a citizen of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma earned a national human rights education award for work to improve Indigenous education.

Alex Red Corn, executive director of the Kansas Association for Native American Education, was chosen by Human Rights Educators USA to receive the O’Brien Award created in 2015 to honor the late human rights and legal educator Edward O’Brien.

“Just as our ancestors have always done, we are persistent in asserting our rights to exist as a people,” Red Corn said. “Our persistence must triumph over the pernicious status quo we are constantly enduring, because our future depends on it, so we press on.”

Human Rights Educators USA, a collaborative network dedicated to human rights education in America, said Red Corn was nominated by the Kansas National Education Association. In 2023, Red Corn also received the National Education Association’s Wilma Mankiller Memorial Award.

“There’s so much work left to do to improve our education systems to work better for native students, communities and nations,” Red Corn said.

Red Corn specializes in teaching Indigenous leadership and research courses on education needs of American Indians in the university setting. He works to reexamine curriculum and resources to dispel myths and include past and present Native American contexts.

Nancy Flowers, chair of the O’Brien Award selection committee, said Red Corn received the award on the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The preamble recognizes the inalienable right of people to freedom, justice and peace.

“Dr. Red Corn’s work reflects the essential principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” she said.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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