Phillips Academy is committed to strengthening the school’s relationship with Native American communities and increasing the population of Native Americans at Phillips Academy, said Jose Powell, Assistant Dean of Admission. The Native Leader Spring Visit Program, funded by the Abbot Academy Association, will be held for the first time next week. Eleven Native American leaders and educators representing Native communities from across the nation will visit Phillips Academy from Tuesday, May 6, to Thursday, May 8. “This initiative is a continuation of our efforts to attract and recruit youth from every quarter, specifically the Native population, which has a very small presence on our campus right now,” said Powell. The PA student body currently has a Native population of less than one percent. The visiting group comprises of representatives from eight high schools, one college, a Native educational access program and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. During their stay, the representatives will visit classes, All-School Meeting and athletic events. “The Native representatives will have the opportunity to converse with students, whether it be in UnCommons or after class,” Powell added. Phil Gover, Director of Native Recruitment from Dartmouth College, will give a speech to the representatives in Kemper on Wednesday evening. Gover, who is a Pawnee Native, “will discuss his personal journey–he attended a boarding school as well, and will offer a professional point of view, including what opportunities there are for Native students to make an impact at a boarding school and some of the challenges they may face,” said Powell. The representatives will also visit the Peabody Museum with Malinda Blustain, Director of the Peabody Museum and will view Andover students’ work specifically relating to the Native culture. “We don’t know if the Native Leader Spring Visit Program will take place every year, but we hope to make a long-standing relationship with the Native communities,” said Powell. Prior to the Native Leader Spring Visit Program initiative, three faculty members, Powell, Jonathan Stableford, Instructor in English, and Randall Peffer, Instructor in English, attended a Native access program called College Horizons at Harvard University. There, the three faculty members met with 100 high-achieving Native students from across the country, mostly from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Oklahoma, Virginia and southern Massachusetts. In the fall of 2008, two Native students that attended the College Horizons program will attend PA as postgraduates.