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Kelli Mosteller
Kelli Mosteller. Photo courtesy Harvard University
Harvard University Native American Program names new leader
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Kelli Mosteller, a citizen of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, is the new leader of the Harvard University Native American Program, also known as HUNAP, in Massachusetts.

Mosteller comes to HUNAP from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma, where she served as executive director. She also worked as her tribe’s historic preservation officer.

“I am excited and honored to join Harvard University as the new executive director of HUNAP,” Mosteller said in a news release on Tuesday. “I believe that Harvard University is uniquely positioned to bring together thought leaders and academic resources to make a significant impact in Indian Country. This opportunity to support students and scholars within the Harvard community and beyond who are dedicated to enacting Indigenous-led research and initiatives in Native communities is an incredible honor.”

Mosteller starts her job on July 11, according to the release. She will report to Joseph P. Gone, HUNAP’s faculty director and professor of anthropology and of global health and social medicine.

“Following a nation-wide search, HUNAP is delighted to have recruited Dr. Kelli Mosteller (Citizen Potawatomi) to Harvard to serve as our new executive director,” said Gone. “Kelli’s prior leadership experience across various tribal initiatives has been effective and impressive, and I am thrilled that she will join our team to guide HUNAP toward a more vibrant, visible, and impactful future.”

Harvard University’s charter, adopted in 1650, dedicates the school to “the education of English and Indian youth.” Despite the pledge, the first official program for Native students didn’t start until 1970, according to HUNAP’s history page.

More recently, HUNAP has adopted a land acknowledgment, following consultations between the program’s faculty advisory board and the Massachusett Tribe in 2019. It reads.

“Harvard University is located on the traditional and ancestral land of the Massachusett, the original inhabitants of what is now known as Boston and Cambridge. We pay respect to the people of the Massachusett Tribe, past and present, and honor the land itself which remains sacred to the Massachusett People.”

HUNAP now reaches over 1,000 Native alumni, according to the program.