Venida Chenault Inaugurated as President of Haskell

September 17, 2014 –

MAYETTA:  The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation came out in full support of  Dr. Venida Chenault, a tribal member, who was inaugurated today as Haskell Indian Nations University’s (HINU) seventh president.

Several members of Chenault’s family wore regalia in her honor while the Royal Valley dancers performed and Little Soldier Singers drummed.  In addition, We-Ta-Se American Legion Post #410 posted colors and some PBPN spoke at the event.

Stephen Prue from HINU was the master of ceremonies, and introduced other dignitaries who offered remarks that included PBPN Chairperson Liana Onnen, University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, William Mendoza of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education, Lionel Bordeaux, former Haskell Board of Regent, Robert Martin, former Haskell president, Joshua Arce, son of  President Chenault, and Russell Bradley, president of the Haskell Board of Regents.

After the inauguration there were tours of the campus,  a special display in the cultural center honoring Chenault and HINU’s 130 year history and a traditional native food event.

Chenault began her educational career at Haskell in the fall of 1975 and spring of 1984.  She transferred to the University of Kansas where she earned her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare and Master’s in Social Welfare in May of 1990 before returning to work at Haskell as a faculty member in 1991.  In 2005 Dr. Chenault completed her doctorate and was selected as Vice President of Academic Affairs where she served for 14 years.  Other honors bestowed on Chenault:  selected an American Indian College Fund Mellon Fellow, receiving the American Indian Leadership Award in 2005 from the University of Kansas Indigenous Studies Program, recipient of the Haskell Outstanding Alumni of the Year for her contribution to Indian Education in the spring of 2009.

The inauguration ceremony was followed by a tour of the Cultural Center that has new displays revolving around HINU’s 130 year history and is also honoring Chenault as Haskell’s new president.

Below are photographs from today taken by the Potawatomi News:

Venida and Josh.JPG

President Chenault followed by her son Josh Arce during the processional.

PBPN group sits together.JPG

A large crowd of PBPN can be seen on the left side of the aisle.

Liana and KU Pres.JPG

PBPN Chairperson Onnen posing with KU Chancellor Gray-Little prior to entering the auditorium.

Jerry and TC.JPG

On the far left, facing the camera, is Jerry Tuckwin, Camilla Chouteau, Junior Wahweotten and Tom Wabnum.

Eddie Joe invocation.JPG

Eddie Joe Mitchell gave the invocation during the ceremony.

Liana addressing group.JPG

Chairperson Onnen addressing the crowd in Haskell’s auditorium.

blanket from PBPN.JPG

Dr. Chenault was honored with a Pendleton blanket and other gifts from the PBPN.

singers and dancers.JPG

Royal Valley dancers and Little Soldier Singers performing.


We-Ta-Se Color Guard and Haskell Color Guard posting colors.

venida w wabaunsees.JPG

Following the ceremony, President Chenault (third from left) visited with Elizabeth Tye (far left), Carrie O’Toole, and Drusa Wabaunsee. O’Toole is on the Haskell Board of Regents.

venida with Num and Patty.JPG

President Chenault (second from left) also stopped for a photo with Num Hale (far left), Bahozhoni White, and Patty Wakolee.

Display cultural center.JPG

Inside the Cultural Center, is a new exhibit that features traditional Woodlands regalia that was mounted by PBPN member Jancita Warrington and other tribal members who helped her with the display.

Hattie and Jancita.JPG

At left is Hattie Mitchell who is the cultural preservation officer for the PBPN with Warrington in front of the exhibit. The two have been working together on the project. Mitchell is also PBPN treasurer.

display in center.JPG

Another new display in the cultural center.


Enjoying the displays were (left to right) Jackie Mitchell, Tim Ramirez, Dave and Laura Abeyta.


A traditional native food event was held this afternoon at the Haskell pow-wow grounds.