Native American Studies Open house gives perspective

Katie Bultman

Center for Native American Studies welcomes visitors

Career-minded students today are encouraged to learn about other cultures in order to better understand clients, co-workers and employers.

“In many occupations, knowing and understanding the culture of the client is valuable,” April Lindala, the director for the Center for Native American Studies said.

The center hosted an open house from noon to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 27, in Whitman Hall Commons.

“[A] faculty [member] felt it was important to bring her students to come and learn a little bit about our center ,” Lindala said, “And the resources we have in relationship to their curriculum.”

In NMU’s Whitman Hall Commons there are tribal flags and international flags from around the globe that represent people of many cultures and backgrounds.

Lindala said they like to use this room for events because it is a cozy room that gives students the chance to learn more about the center.

“It’s just an opportunity for those who are new to the campus to meet us and learn a little more about what the center does,” Lindala said. “We offer an academic minor, we also have done programming throughout the years.”

Native students,  students enrolled in the Native studies minor and students interested in learning more about the center were invited to attend the open house.

Professor Helen Kahn of the school of clinical sciences attended the event with her language development class.

“She brought us here to give us a certain feel or realization of how to be respectful and professional toward the Native American clients that we will one day be working with,” Nicole Kessel, senior speech language and hearing sciences and athletic training major, said. “We got to learn cultural background along with different language aspects.”

Students who attended the open house were provided with raffles, prizes and games. There were also displays set up that provided students with information about the center and the culture of Native Americans.

“It just gives us a more cultural background and it allows us to see exactly where they’re coming from,” Kessel said. “I think it’s very beneficial. It’s really eye opening.”

The director of the McNair Scholars Program and the Freshman Fellowship Program, Heather Pickett, was also available at the event for students that had questions about the programs.

Northern Michigan University has set up these programs to provide low income students and students who are underrepresented in graduate education with assistance in academic advising, the opportunity for a paid research internship, GRE prep and the application process for grad school.

“Out of our students, over the course of the years we’ve been on campus, since 2009, 53 percent of our graduates have gone on to grad school,” Pickett said. “The main thing is they’re excited about learning. They know they want to go on, they know they want to do research and if those things are in place then we can work with them.”