When Edna (Best) Yokum ’09 introduces herself to strangers, she uses both English and the Indigenous language of her Osage heritage as she embraces the name a tribal elder gave her.
“I am Son-se gra Footprints in the Woods,” she says, “from the Grayhorse District of the Osage Nation.”
When she was a child, her footprints could be found far off any beaten paths as she explored forests and mesas during trips to Northern Arizona. Sometimes she struggled to find her way back to the trail and to her family. It wasn’t the last time she would feel lost.
Early in her college experience at Chapman University, Yokum wasn’t sure she fit in and didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. She fights back tears as she remembers the turning point in her journey a decade ago. Chapman mentor professors Paul Apodaca and Ron Steiner helped her find her way.
“They saved a person who needed guidance,” Yokum recalls. “The impact they had on me and what I wanted to do with my life was transformational. Now I want to be that person for the students I serve.”