November is Native American Heritage Month, which the Western Michigan University community celebrates to recognize that campus was built on native land.
Associate Professor in social work Dee Sherwood is the faculty advisor for the Native American Students Organization and director of the Native American Affairs Council.
“I think that a lot of what people learn about Native American history and contemporary issues and so forth is not accurately reflected within K-12 curriculums and sometimes not even in college curriculums,” Sherwood said.
She continued: “So this is a time for our community to do some research and try to engage in activities and events that are happening within the university and the broader community.”
Indigenous Perspectives on Environmental Protection and Climate Activism will be offered at WMU starting in the Spring semester. It will be a three-credit course offered in the school of social work.
Per the course proposal, “the course will focus on the strengths, resilience, and resistance of Indigenous communities and historical and contemporary approaches to environmental protection.”
“We will have experiential learning where students will go out and be invited to visit the reservation and learn about the seven grandfathers’ teachings, culture, language and values,” Sherwood said.
The course may be considered as a part of the Climate Change minor. It will be in partnership with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi (NHBP) Environmental Protection and Historic Preservation departments.
The NHBP is a federally recognized tribal government with more than 1,500 enrolled Tribal Members. They supervise natural resource-based programs such as maple syrup production and wild rice harvesting.
An event with arts and crafts, drumming, a conversation with Billy Mills and traveling song will be held at the Fetzer Center Nov. 15 to celebrate the month.
It is a collaborative effort between the Native American Heritage fund, WMU Native American Affairs Council, WMU Native American Student Organization, the school of medicine, the Lewis Walker Institute, the Office of Diversity Education and more.
More on the event can be found on ExperienceWMU.
WMU is located on the lands of Ojibwe, Odawa and Bodewodmi (Potawatomi). It seeks to honor the ancestral land of the Three Fires Confederacy.