Haskell Foundation: Focusing on the Future

Our mission is to support Haskell Indian Nations University as a national center for intertribal education, research and cultural programs.*

Money raised by the Haskell Foundation will assists with unmet needs of the university that are beyond appropriated funds provided by the Bureau of Indian Education.

Haskell Indian Nations University is an intertribal university located in Lawrence, KS. Founded in 1884 as the United States Indian Industrial Training School, Haskell has evolved into a Higher Learning Commission accredited university serving the educational needs of American Indian and Alaskan Native students throughout the nation.

* Haskell Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization located in Lawrence, KS.

Frequently Asked Questions

Foundation Board:

Joseph Clote

Joseph W. Clote, President-Board of Directors

Joseph W. Clote is an enrolled member of the Osage Nation. He owns Publishing Concepts LLC, a communications and marketing firm in St. Louis, Mo. Clote is founder and group publisher of a family of trade magazines; Meet Ohio™, Meet Med™, and Missouri Meetings & Events™.

He has extensive sales and marketing expertise in the travel and tourism, fine art, insurance, and software development industries. Clote has worked with convention and visitors bureaus, universities, attractions, retailers, and lodging organizations throughout the United States and Canada. In 2005, he launched a self-publishing and marketing division that has produced children’s books, textbooks, novels, poetry collections, self-help texts, workbooks, and manuals.

Clote holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is also a board member of the Saint Louis Area Hotel Association and serves as an advisory board member for the Saint Louis University School for Professional Studies. Clote enjoys volunteer work, fishing, and cultivating seeds from the Wah-Zha-Zhi seed bank in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.



Ruth Vega Harjo, Secretary-Board of Directors

Ruth Vega Harjo has spent 15 years working in the American Indian gaming industry. She currently serves as director of human resources for the Prairie Band Casino and Resort. During her time there, she has also worked as a career development manager, marketing manager, and planning and analysis manager.

Her tribal affiliation is Prairie Band Potawatomi and she served as the tribe’s gaming commissioner from 2000 to 2003.

Harjo earned an associate’s degree in liberal arts from Haskell Indian Junior College and a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Washburn University. She also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Baker University.

She has served on the Prairie Band Potawatomi Charitable Contributions Committee and the Prairie Band Casino and Resort Charitable Contributions Committee. Harjo is married and has three children.


Patricia Battese

Patricia Battese, Treasurer-Board of Directors

Patricia “Patty” Battese is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians and has spent a 20-year career in federal government service with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health, primarily in administrative and accounting roles.

Before joining the federal government, she spent more than 20 years as an administrative and office manager for firms such as Phillips Petroleum in Oklahoma, and Mize Houser Public Accounts in Kansas.

Battese studied at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and has served on the board of directors of the Lawrence Indian Center. She also served on Johnson O’Malley Parent Committees for school districts in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, Mitchell, South Dakota, and Salt Lake City, Utah. She spends some of her free time visiting Native American casinos, resorts, trading posts, and reservations.



JeJerry Tuckwinrry Tuckwin, Executive-Board of Directors

Former long-time athletics coach at Haskell Indian Nations University, Jerry Tuckwin has been greatly involved in the Haskell Foundation. He initiated a major rejuvenation of the Foundation in the Fall of 2012. After his formal retirement in 2001, Tuckwin has been active with his tribal nation, the Prairie Band Potawatomi. He served the tribe as the Chairman of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Entertainment Corporation Board for six years. Jerry coordinated the Casino Management Program within the School of Business at Haskell in 2002 and served as an adjunct faculty member until 2016.

Jerry Tuckwin is a 1960 Haskell Institute graduate. He received a Track and Field Scholarship to Wichita State University and received his bachelor’s degree in May of 1964. He is a Vietnam veteran and received his master’s degree in Administration at the University of Arizona while stationed in Tucson in 1964.

Jerry had two children who graduated from Haskell Indian Junior College. His current grandchildren are the 5th generation of Tuckwin’s who have attended Haskell. Jerry’s grandfather was one of the first students on the campus in the Fall of 1884. Coach Tuckwin is very proud of his affiliation with his alma mater.



Lara Waits, Vice President-Board of Directors

Board member Lara Waits is a member of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation and has a decade of experience in a variety of roles serving the casino industry. She has worked in a number of positions with the Prairie Band Casino and Resort operated in Mayetta, Kansas. Her roles there have included Players Club supervisor, lead front desk clerk, casino marketing administrator, human resources assistant in employee relations, and summer intern in marketing and human resources.She currently serves in the role of tribal development program coordinator at the casino and resort. Waits holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Haskell Indian Nations University. She is also enrolled in an MBA program at Friends University in Wichita.



Foundation Staff:


Cleta La Brie, Development Officer

Cleta (Kirk) La Brie is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is retired from AT&T as a Maintenance Administrator for new construction. After retiring she worked for California Indian Manpower Consortium as an Eligibility Specialist in the Community Services Block Grant Program. Then in the fall of 2011, Cleta started a new career goal, to earn a bachelor’s degree at Haskell Indian Nations University.

Cleta has two sons, Richard and Scott, and a soon to be daughter in-law, Carol, who all three graduated from Haskell Indian Nations University with their Bachelor’s degree. In 2017, Cleta graduated Magna Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in Indigenous and American Indian Studies, emphasis in Environmental Justice.

As a student at HINU, Cleta was the president of the Wetlands Preservation Organization. Participated in summer internships with NASA, the Kickapoo Tribe of Kansas, Haskell’s Tribal Colleges and Universities Program, and the National Science Foundation (Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute).Outside of work Cleta enjoys spending time with her grand-dog, Penny, along with oil painting and quilting. [email protected]