Truman Burrage, Indigenous activist, thrives at Harvard

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - 21:13 in Psychology & Sociology

This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.  Arriving at Harvard from a small city of 15,000 in southern Oklahoma, Truman Burrage experienced a shock of sorts, socially and culturally. Not only was college football not the thing here, but, more significantly, there were few students hailing from rural America with whom to relate. But Burrage, a member of the Choctaw Nation, soon found a home away from home in the Harvard University Native American Program (HUNAP). It was there that he regained his confidence, built a community, and discovered a mission for himself. “Native students have a hard time succeeding at Harvard because of our small numbers,” said Burrage, on a sunny chilly morning at the Kennedy School. “The community we build here provides a support system that is integral to native students’ success.” Without HUNAP, Burrage said, it would be harder for Native American students to...

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