Indigenous Winona State alum, Regan Kluver, speaks


Nathan Kronbeck

Regan Kluver came to speak at Winona State University on Oct. 10 for Indigenous People’s Month. Kluver reflected on her time as a student at WSU and presented on her experience as someone who is Indigenous.

Lillianna Van De Walker, Features Reporter

Regan Kluver, a keynote speaker for Indigenous People’s Month at Winona State University, shared her perspective as a testament to the impact Winona State University had on her. 

On Oct. 10, in the Kryzsko Ballroom, Kluver shared her experience as a Native student at Winona State University with students and faculty. 

“I owe so much of who I am to this university and the relationships I have made during my time here,” Kluver said. 

Kluver got accepted to Winona State and started her college career in 2014 when she gained a foundation for herself. 

“I didn’t quite have a direction,” Kluver said. “I didn’t quite know what I wanted to study and what I wanted to base my entire professional career out of.”

Describing her journey through college, Kluver explained how she realized she wanted to be a history major.

“I realized that where I felt most happy was surprisingly in Minné of all buildings,” Kluver said. “That was in any history class, really any subject in history.”

Landing a job in American Indian education before graduation, Kluver worked as the American Indian liaison and worked with over 200 Native students. 

“I was able to not only work with Anishinaabe students, Dakota students, but Klickitat Alaskan students. It was a beautiful time,” Kluver said.

Kluver now works for the Minnesota Historical Society in the Native American initiative department.

“A department full of Native-identifying people, which is a gift and something I never realized I needed in my life; to work in a department where everyone looks like you and talks like you,” Kluver said.

Kluver told stories of what led her to her job and her place in life today but also showed her appreciation for Winona State.

“Those shifts in attitude, the growth of my individuality, and my self-advocacy would not have been possible without Winona State,” Kluver said. “I have to give a special shoutout to folks in the history department, especially Dr. Colette Hyman, for playing a big part in teaching me many of those skills…I also want to thank my professors for guiding me to study facets of my own history.”

Kluver learned she was Native when she was in high school. Kluver’s mother was adopted out of their native community when she was just a baby, so learning more about her native descent was not very easy. Sandy White Hawk, an international child welfare advocate, helped reunite Kluver and her mother with their family and identity.

Kluver recounts how she was Native when she was in high school. Kluver’s mother was adopted out of their native community when she was just a baby, so learning more about her native descent was not very easy. (Nathan Kronbeck)

“I have this really unique situation where I was trying to find myself as a very, you know, city Indian, someone who grew up in the suburbs but had all of this family and a new way of understanding my identity which is a huge piece of me coming into who I am now and the attitude I had going into school,” said Kluver.

Kluver’s Anishinaabe name is ‘woman who changes the Earth.’

“‘Woman who changes the Earth’ sometimes feels like a really big cup to fill and seems a little, you know, how am I going to live up to a name like that?” Kluver said.

Kluver stated that a future goal of hers is to be in a position to make a change for American Indian education.

“That is something that I know I can accomplish due to the foundation that I’ve gained here at Winona State,” Kluver said. “I am forever grateful for that and, you know, check in with me in a few years, see where I’m at.”