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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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American Indian Studies forum scheduled April 19

A forum to address issues related to a proposed American Indian Studies program at New Mexico State University is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, April 19, in the Corbett Center Auditorium.


nt is part of Native American Week, April 18-25, organized by the university's American Indian student organizations.

A panel of four Native American scholars -- Joseph "Jay" Stauss, director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona; Charles "Bo" Colbert, academic associate with the American Indian Studies Program at Arizona State University; Jennifer R. Denetdale, assistant professor of humanities at Northern Arizona University; and Lee Francis, a Native American Studies professor at the University of New Mexico -- will discuss the value of a degree in American Indian Studies.

Donald Pepion, director of the American Indian Program at New Mexico State, said a proposal to establish a bachelor's degree in American Indian Studies at the university is under consideration. The April 19 forum will address some of the questions that have been raised about the proposal, such as what kinds of jobs might be available for graduates with degrees in American Indian Studies and how such programs benefit Native American people and those from other cultures.

Bill Montoya, a Navajo student, will serve as moderator. A panel of students -- Tiffany Lovato of Santo Domingo Pueblo, Gerald Danzuka of the Warm Springs tribe of Oregon, and James McKenzie, Laura Franklin and Brad Hale, all of the Navajo Nation -- will ask questions. Members of the audience also will have an opportunity to ask questions.

Pepion said the university has had an academic minor in American Indian Studies for several years. Following a needs assessment, a prospectus to develop a bachelor's degree program was prepared by Pepion and Scott Rushforth of the New Mexico State University Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

The prospectus has been made available to students and faculty who have shown an interest in the program and those involved in Native American Studies, as well as to tribes in New Mexico through the New Mexico Tribal Higher Education Commission. Anyone who is interested may request a copy by calling the university's American Indian Program office at (505) 646-4207. Comments are being solicited until May 15, Pepion said.

Karl Hill
April 15, 2002