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Keith Malaterre named director for UND’s Indigenous Student Center

First to hold the position since 2017, Malaterre is a longtime staff member and two-time graduate of UND

Keith Malaterre

Keith Malaterre has been named director for UND’s Indigenous Student Center – the first to hold to position since 2017.

Malaterre, who most recently served as American Indian success specialist with UND Student Diversity & Inclusion, has held multiple positions over his 20-year career at UND, including 14 years under what was formerly known as the American Indian Center.

Originally from Belcourt, N.D., and a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Malaterre is a two-time graduate of UND, earning a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Instructional Design in 1993 and 2003.

Malaterre taught middle school in Belcourt for 10 years before returning to UND for his master’s degree, and has since been a University staff member.

“My philosophy has always been to help American Indian and Indigenous students, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do that through positions my entire career,” Malaterre said. “This position hasn’t been occupied for a long time, and I’m happy President Armacost has given me the opportunity to rejuvenate the Center.”

UND President Andrew Armacost said Malaterre has demonstrated an unmatched commitment to the well-being of the University’s American Indian community, including his efforts that have been central to UND’s work in repatriating Native American ancestors.

“His selection to be our Director of the Indigenous Student Center recognizes both his dedication and his extraordinary leadership,” Armacost said. “Through his work, Keith will promote the five pillars of the UND LEADS strategic plan – Learning, Equity, Affinity, Discovery and Service – in support of our Indigenous members and across the entire campus community.”

Tamba-Kuii Bailey, special assistant to the president for diversity & inclusion, said it was important for the University to identify a leader who could offer sustained leadership and guidance for Indigenous students and the Indigenous community at UND.

“I believe that we have found that leader in Keith Malaterre,” Bailey remarked. “Keith has dedicated all of his professional life to the success of Indigenous students. He is someone who will continue to work hard to meet the many needs of our students, and he will support them as they find their own voices during their time at UND.”

Along with Malaterre’s appointment is a motion to change the name of the Center, which is in the process of being approved at the state level. By renaming to the Indigenous Student Center, students from places such as Alaska and Canada – who often refer to themselves as Alaska Natives and First Nations, respectively – can feel more immediately welcome, Malaterre said.

Since late March, he has been meeting with students to get a better idea of what Indigenous students are looking for in a revamped Indigenous Student Center.

“It’s important for our students to have a sense of belonging and a space to call their own, and that’s part of what inspired me to take this role,” Malaterre said. “I was asking students if they simply wanted a place to study, or if they wanted a social setting at the Center.

“Overwhelmingly, students said they wanted a social center – a place for people to socialize and feel like they can be themselves. I want to hear music and laughter while I’m here. I already have some ideas for future social events.”

As director, Malaterre will report to Bailey. The Indigenous Student Center will exist under the umbrella of UND’s Diversity & Inclusion Centers, including Student Diversity & Inclusion and the Pride Center, through which Malaterre anticipates many collaborative efforts.

“I’m coming into this with new ideas from what the Center was in the past,” he said. “Our society has changed, and students’ needs and wants along with it. We’re going to work on what can appeal to our Indigenous students and foster community and belonging on our campus.”