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Alumni Spotlight

Melanie Frye

Melanie Frye
(Muscogee Creek Nation)
B.A., Native American Studies 2007

Melanie Frye is an almnus, current student, and active faculty member in Native American Studies.

Melanie earned her bachelor's degree in 2007 from The University of Oklahoma in Anthropology with a double major in Native American Studies.

She is currently in her last semester of graduate work in NAS with a focus on Language, History and Cultural Knowledge.

She also serves the department as an instructor of Creek language.

Her passion is working toward the revitalization and perpetuation of the Mvskoke (Creek/Seminole) language.  In doing so, she feels that she is honoring her late father, Johnny Frye, late uncle, George Bunny Jr., and her late mentor, Margaret McKane Mauldin.

Melanie attended NCAIS (Newberry Consortium of American Indian and Indigenous Studies) Summer Institute in Chicago, IL during the summer of 2019.  There, she attended classes and participated in research on language revitiliztation.

Melanie will discuss her personal journey of learning and teaching her language as part of the OU Native Nations Center series "Language As Personal Journey" on January 22nd, 2020.

Melanie recently received the good news that her abstract was accepted and that she'll be presenting at the NCAIS 2020 Graduate Student Conference in February 2020.


Jamison Short
(Cherokee Nation)
Class of 2019

Jamison is the Project Coordinator of the Tribal Data Training and Technical Assistance Project at the Native Alliance Against Violence, a position supported by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice.  NAAV is a non-profit organization in Norman, Oklahoma, operating as Oklahoma’s only tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalition.   Jamison assists tribal governments and Tribal Jurisdiction Program grantees with data collection and utilization.  He also helps to develop and enhance programs to effectively respond to domestic and sexual violence occurring within those communities.

Jamison is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and grew up in Purcell, Oklahoma.  Jamison graduated from OU in May of 2019 with a Bachelors degree in Native American Studies with a second major in Advertising and minors in Health and Exercise Science and Business.  Jamison served on Student Congress/Student Government Association and multiple student advisory boards.  He interned at the Native Nations Center and volunteered in the Native American Languages Collection.  He also worked as the advertising manager for the OU Daily and competed for the OU Powerlifting team. 


Corey Still 
(United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma)
Class of 2013

Corey Still taught Cherokee language for the Native American Studies department from 2016 - 2019.  He now serves now as Director of Scholarship Operations for American Indian Graduate Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

David Gover

David Gover
(Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma/Choctaw Nation)
Class of 1997

David Gover practices Indian law as a staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colorado

Candessa Tehee

Candessa Teehee
(Cherokee Nation)
Class of 2000

Tehee serves her tribe as the Director of the Cherokee Heritage Center and Museum in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Bird Runningwater


Bird Runningwater
(Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache Tribe)
Class of 1994

Based in Los Angeles, Bird Runningwater serves as the Director of Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program.