Yakama Nation and Heritage University sign memorandum of understanding to strengthen and formalize ties

Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman JoDe Goudy and Heritage University President Andrew Sund shake hands during memorandum of understanding signing ceremony

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Yakama Nation and Heritage University sign memorandum of understanding to strengthen and formalize ties

Toppenish, Wash. – Yakama Nation Tribal Council Chairman, JoDe L. Goudy and Heritage University President, Dr. Andrew Sund have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which formalizes their working relationship and mutual goals to provide high-quality college education to Yakama tribal members.

The MOU, Dr. Sund says, reaffirms Heritage’s origins and mission to provide college education to underrepresented populations, “We strive always to stay true to the vision of the two Yakama women, Violet Lumley Rau and Martha Yallup who, along with Sister Kathleen Ross, were instrumental in starting Heritage,” said Dr. Sund. “This MOU sets forth terms for Heritage and the tribe to strengthen our relationship and formalizes the processes by which we work together on an ongoing basis to ensure we create academic programming that is culturally competent and a campus climate that meets the cultural needs of Yakama students.”

Chairman Goudy welcomed Heritage University officials and faculty to council chambers as part of the signing of the MOU. “We are very humbled in today’s time to take an action that aligns with the vision that our elders have had for the benefit of our members seeking higher education,” said Goudy. “This MOU represents a step taken in the right direction to position our membership for success and we thank Heritage University for the collaboration and commitment to the education of Yakama members.”

The MOU is the result of Heritage University board member and Yakama Nation  Human Services Deputy Director Arlen Washines searching for such a document and coming up empty. “We have a long history of working together informally, but it was time to get a formal document created in which both the Nation and Heritage could outline their commitments to each other,” said Washines. “Today marks a significant milestone in our long relationship.”

Dr. Maxine Janis, the President’s Liaison for Native American Affairs at Heritage, watched Chairman Goudy and Dr. Sund sign the agreement in tribal council chambers. “It was my esteemed honor to witness the signing of the MOU. Heritage University now more closely aligns with the Yakama Nation Treaty of 1855 honoring the land, lifeways, and culture of the people whose homelands our institution is situated.”

For more information, contact Elese Washines at (509) 865-5121 ext. 4530 or elese_washines@yakama.com, or David Mance, Heritage University media relations coordinator, at (509) 969-6084 or Mance_D@Heritage.edu.