Capital,” Ross shared historical narratives and personal stories about the history of American Indian delegations who traveled to the nation’s capital to argue for fair treatment for native peoples and to negotiate just treaties. “Two things I’d like people to understand is that first off, we’re not all the same; we have differences that need to be appreciated,” she said. “The other thing is that we as Native Americans will not truly succeed without America understanding that we are not an ethnic minority, we are indigenous peoples. We are tribal nations with certain collective rights, such as the right to self-governance and the right to a say in the decisions that affect our people, as well as our lands and resources.” Ross: Every college needs a Denison program The Olga J. and G. Roland Denison Visiting Professorship of Native American Studies is critical for CMU and universities nationwide, Ross said. The professorship was established in 2007 and brings a noted scholar, artist or practitioner to CMU to help increase understanding of the historical experiences, cultural traditions, and political status of indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada. “I wish every college and university in the country had something like a Denison program,” said Ross, who lives in Oklahoma just north of the Cherokee Nation capital in Tahlequah. “I believe that many of the challenges that face the Native American community stem from a lack of understanding of who we are in the American mosaic. Such a professorship helps to give people a better understanding and appreciation.” As the visiting professor, one of her primary roles was teaching the upper-level course The Art of Storytelling. The course provided students with the methods and practices in finding, learning and telling stories. Alpena senior Natalie DeFour, who is pursuing a degree in English, enrolled in this course to complement her creative writing concentration. She said she is grateful to have the opportunity to learn the craft from such an established storyteller. “She emphasized that finding the bones of a story is the first step to crafting a great story ¬– it’s not about memorization, but about how the story forms itself and speaks to you,” said DeFour, whose final project was telling an engaging story about the historic wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Creating community through culture CHSBS opens residential college By Abigail Robinson
Domestic and international CMU students will integrate this fall through a new cultural learning and living experiential program. These students will become the inaugural cohort for CMU’s Cultural and Global Residential College. The CGRC is intended for students interested in cultures, languages and tradition, and it was created through a partnership with the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences and the School of Public Service and Global Citizenship. About 30 students are expected to live within the residential college. “Our world is shrinking on a daily basis,” said Global Engagement/ Cultural and Global Residential College Director Rae Buchholz. “Being able to give our students real life experience in this new world is an invaluable tool for their future success and employability.” The college aims to create friendships and provide skills that will make students more desirable to employers. Students will attend CGRC meetings and cultural events as well as volunteer as conversation partners and take several courses with their cohort. CMU faculty member John Truitt will teach one of these cohort courses – Latin American Experience – using “Reacting to the Past” pedagogy, where students re-enact roles throughout history. “It’s becoming equally important that we provide real-life scenarios for students to collaborate and interact with people from other cultures,” said Buchholz. “We feel this offers a heightened level of academic and social comprehension.” •
Ross said she is enthusiastic and open to someday returning to CMU to teach more about storytelling, especially to students pursuing teaching degrees. •