Native Village 
Youth and Education News

October 2012

Native Sorority Empowers Women and Promotes culture
Condensed by Native Village

Native women in universities across the U.S  are finding friendship and sisterhood as members of the first American Indian sorority in history.

Alpha Pi Omega was founded in 1994 by Native students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Known as the Four Winds, the women Jamie Goins, Lumbee; Shannon Brayboy, Lumbee;  Christina Strickland, Lumbee;  and Amy Locklear, Lumbee/Coharie -- shared their idea of a sorority based on American Indian traditions with women elders from several North Carolina tribes.

The elders gave the sorority their blessing, and Alpha Pi Omega pledged its first class of sisters, known as the Fifteen Warrior Women, in the spring of 1995. The sorority was incorporated that fall.

Today, Alpha Pi Omega has chapters on campuses across the country:

Alpha Chapter
 UNC-Chapel Hill
Established Sept. 1, 1994
 Beta Chapter
Chartered Nov. 27, 1996
 Gamma Chapter
Oklahoma State University
Chartered May 29, 2004
 Delta Chapter
University of New Mexico
Chartered May 28, 2005
 Epsilon Chapter
" Dartmouth College
Chartered May 27, 2006
 Zeta Chapter
University of Arizona
Chartered May 27, 2006
 Eta Chapter — North Carolina State University
Chartered June 2, 2007
 Theta Chapter
Northeastern State University
Chartered June 2, 2007
Iota Chapter
 Arizona State University
Chartered June 7, 2008
 Alpha Pi Chapter
The Triangle, N.C.
Established Sept. 1, 1994
Beta Pi Chapter
Robeson County, N.C.
Chartered Nov. 27, 1996
 Gamma Pi Chapter  Columbus County, N.C.
Chartered May 29, 2004
Delta Pi Chapter
Payne County, Okla.
Chartered May 28, 2005
Provisional chapter
District of Columbia (Graduate)
Provisional chapter
Bernalillo County, N.M. (Graduate)
Provisional chapter
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore.
Honey Processes have also been conducted at:
University of Wisconsin-Madison University of Northern Colorado
Greeley, Colo.
 Dane County, Wisc.
 Boston area-wide (Undergraduate)
Haskell Indian Nations University,
Lawrence, Kan.
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, N.C.
University of Kansas,
Lawrence, Kan.
 University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.

  provides a network of support for college and professional Native women while embracing traditional cultural practices. More than 70 tribes are represented nationwide.

The sorority “has benefitted me personally in a lot of ways,” said 21-year-old Shawna Nelson who joined in 2010. A nursing student, Nelson wanted to keep her Navajo culture alive during her college years. “I am very traditional, so it was nice to have a lot of girls I related to, sisters who were involved in their tribes’ heritage, sisters who were wearing Native regalia. It was something so different from all those Greek houses.”

During July's grand gathering at Oklahoma State University, Nelson was nominated as Pi of the Year, the sorority’s highest individual honor. Among her accomplishments was serving as president of the Delta Chapter.

 “[Alpha Pi Omega] has taught me how to conduct myself, to plan events, to delegate tasks. It also has taught me to take pride in our cultural heritage. ... we have the ability to show other people that we know who we are and what we believe in. We are proud of that and want to share it.”

   Alpha Pi Omega

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