Native American Student and Alumni Leaders

Students and Alumni Making a Difference in their Communities

Recent Graduates and Student Leaders

Lily Boivn

Lily Boivin ’20

Hometown: Keshena, Wisconsin



Major: American Indian studies

Minor: psychology

“There’s a strong support system here to help you get acclimated to college, especially coming from a boarding school setting. You’re exposed to so much more diversity here…it was a culture shock. I am getting exposed to more new thing every day but Morris still feels like a safe space. The bridge program, Gateway, helps provide that support and lets you get to know the feel of college early on without the big college shock. You get to meet the faculty and staff before the pressure of when campus is in full swing. It’s easy to get into student organizations at Morris, because all you have to do to get involved is to show up! And above all, Google Calendar is going to be your best friend.”

Veronica Haverkamp

Veronica Haverkamp ’18

Hometown: Detroit Lakes

White Earth Nation

​Majors: American Indian studies and psychology

As a student Veronica was involved in a variety of American Indian events and programs on campus. She led the Anishinaabe Language table, was the teaching assistant for the Intro Anishinaabe course, was a member of Circle of Nations Indigenous Association, and was a peer mentor for the Native American Student Success program. She assisted with the 2017 Anishinaabe Language Immersion Camp and presented as part of a panel at the 2017 Native American Literature Symposium, a national professional conference where she discussed her involvement in the #NoDAPL movement at Standing Rock.

Darren Cook

Darren Cook '20

Hometown: Redlake
Red Lake Nation
Major: Management and Communications, Media, and Rhetoric

Darren was extremely involved in Native American student life at UMN Morris. He was active in the Circle of Nations Indigenous Association (CNIA) and, as a first year student, he volunteered to chair a committee for our 33rd annual powwow. Darren proved himself to be a trustworthy leader, being elected as a co-chair for the CNIA group on campus for the 2017-18 school year.  Darren presented his experiences from his time in Standing Rock at the international professional conference the Native American Literature Symposium with fellow students from UMN Morris and Sisseton Wahpeton College. Darren started our campus drum group, playing with fellow students from different tribal affiliations. 

“Don’t be afraid to apply yourself and seek help as much as possible; faculty and staff are always open to help you. Make as many friends as you can. And this may sound cheesy, but step outside of your comfort zone. There’s a wide variety of opportunities in your dorm building, on campus, and in the Morris community.”

Demi Dumarce

Demi Dumarce ’18

Hometown: Sisseton, South Dakota

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate

Major: Social Science: History emphasis

Minor: Native American and Indigenous Studies

As a student, Demi was a leader among her peers and served as the Community Advisor on the First Nations floor. She spoke to Minnesota Public Radio's Tom Weber about her experiences in a recent special by MPR News:
"My grandfather was someone who was taken away from his family and went to boarding school when he was, I think, he was 5. So I find it really profound that one of his granddaughters is graduating from a college that used to be a boarding school, and I think that's really powerful. I always get overwhelmed."

Evelyn Vocu

Evelyn Vocu '17

Hometown: Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Oglala Lakota
Major: English

“Getting to know LGBTQIA2S+ community on campus was very important to me. They have provided a great support system for me.” Evelyn was very involved with the campus LGBTQIA2S+ organization MoQSIE. Evelyn presented information on Two Spirit identity and UMN Morris’s unique student-led support groups at state and national conferences such as the 2017 Minnesota Out! Campus Conference. Evelyn valued the support and opportunities provided by UMN Morris's English Discipline and states, “I’m not sure where I would be without them.”

Evelyn’s advice to new students is this: “When it comes to club on campus, give them a try because you never know who you’re going to meet.

"The community among Native students here is very welcoming. I have had many opportunities here to engage with other Native students that I don't believe I would have at another university."

Alumni Leaders

Paulette Fairbanks Molin

Paulette Fairbanks Molin '66, PhD

  • White Earth Band of Ojibwe
  • Majors: English, French
  • Morris's first American Indian graduate
  • 2005 UMM Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
  • PhD from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
  • Independent Scholar/Former Assistant Dean of the Graduate College and Director, American Indian Educational Opportunity Program, at Hampton University in Virginia

Molin is an educator and writer whose books include American Indian Themes in Young Adult Literature (Scarecrow Press, 2005) and The Extraordinary Book of Native American Lists (coauthored with Arlene Hirschfelder, Scarecrow Press, 2012).

Teresa Peterson

Teresa Peterson '91, EdD

  • Upper Sioux Community
  • Majors: liberal arts for the human services
  • EdD from the University of Minnesota, Duluth
  • MS from Southwest State University
  • Bush Fellow
  • Founding Director of Dakota Wicohan
  • 2017 UMM Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
Dean Parisian

Dean Parisian '76

  • White Earth Chippewa/Ojibwe
  • Majors: economics, social science, secondary education
  • Founder/chief investment officer, Chippewa Partners Native American Advisors, Inc.
Rondell Reid LeBeau II

Rondell Reid LeBeau II '02

  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Major: political science
  • 2001 Harry S. Truman Scholar
  • 2005 Cum Laude Graduate of University of Minnesota Law School
  • Jacobson Buffalo Magnuson, Anderson & Hagen, attorney and lobbyist representing tribes in Minnesota and South Dakota
Jill Doerfler

Jill Doerfler '01, PhD

  • White Earth Anishinaabe
  • Majors: American Indian studies, history
  • Department Head of American Indian studies, University of Minnesota, Duluth
  • Coauthor with Gerald Vizenor, The White Earth Nation: Ratification of a New Democratic Constitution
Larry Traversie

Larry Traversie '00

  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
  • Major: speech communication
  • Partnership manager, Positive Coaching Alliance MN Chapter

  • President, University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association Board of Directors