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VSU presents Native American minor

Starting this spring, VSU will offer Native American Studies as a new minor for students.

Dr. Fred Knowles is currently serving as Chair for this new program, which took a group of professors over five years to organize.

Being a member of the Creek tribe himself, Knowles knows how important it is for people to understand the Native Americans heritage and culture.

Knowles said that since we live in a diverse society, it will be good for students to have this minor in order to get a better understanding of the Native American people.

He also added how the world is not just black and white; there are many other cultures, ethnic groups and races that are here as well.

Dr. Knowles has been a professor at VSU for about eight years and has noticed that something is missing from the curriculum, a minor that focuses on Native American culture and heritage.

Dr. Lavonna Lovern, another professor in the program, will teach a class next semester called Post Colonization issues in Indigenous cultures.

Other classes include Modern and Contemporary Native American Art, Indians of North America and Native People in the American Southeast.

Lovern also mentioned that the committee has established a board of Elders, who represent communities in the Southeast.

The board will talk to students occasionally but will also give advice or answer questions that some of the professors might have about the culture.

The Native American committee wants to make sure that any information given to the students is accurate.

“The stereotypes and misinformation perpetuated in the media and in many textbooks often hinders the authentic understanding of Native American cultures and ideas,” Lovern said.

Some professors are also interested in starting an organization for Native American Indians as well. The idea is just being discussed, and nothing is certain at the moment.

“I do believe that the NAS minor can serve a unique and useful function in terms of allowing a student to interact with individuals from another culture, as well as allowing the student to analyze and consider the foundations of her own culture,” Lovern said.

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