The Founders of the Native American Studies Program
With a generous gift by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, the Native American Studies Program began in March 2014. Chairman Buford Rolin (third from the left) and Mr. Robert McGhee (far right) were strong advocates along with Board Chair Pro Tempore, Dr. Steve Furr (first on the left) and Interim President Dr. John Smith (second from the left) in forming a partnership. The gift allowed bestowing the Chief Calvin McGhee Endowed Professor of Native American Studies on Dr. Philip J. Carr (Professor of Anthropology), as well as supporting a range of teaching, discovery, and outreach activities. For example, Dr. Deidra Dees and Dr. Phil Carr co-taught AN 190/HY 190: Native Americans in Alabama: History and Culture during the Fall 2014 semester, and Dr. Pat Cesarini is currently teaching EH 482: Studies in American Literature: Native American Fiction. Professor Carr is working with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Council and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer on several research projects ranging from federal recognition to archaeological investigations on tribal lands. Finally, outreach includes work with students to re-establish the Native American Student Association, support for the "Old Mobile" Graphic Novel that depicts colonial and native interactions at this nationally significant site, and co-sponsoring Leaves, Roots, Bark, and Fruit: Ethnobotany and the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Exhibit with Mr. Robert Thrower at the Marx Library (11 Oct. to 11 Dec. 2014). PBCI Cultural Authority Director, Ms. Karla Martin was instrumental in bringing Mr. Marcus Briggs-Cloud to USA campus to present and lead a discussion on the topic of Native Americans as team mascots. Ms. Martin brought a large number of PBCI youth to campus for this presentation. The re-recognition of the Native American Student Association in the Fall 2014 semester provides an important means of involving USA students and efforts are on-going to recruit Native American students to the USA campus.