Elevating Indigenous Voices

By Deserae E. del Campo

Elevating Indigenous Voices

By Deserae E. del Campo
UM senior shares experience from new course offered in Native American and Global Indigenous Studies program

The University of Miami’s new multidisciplinary Native American and Global Indigenous Studies (NAGIS) program elevates students’ understanding of the unique histories and perspectives of Native communities. The NAGIS program offered its first course this spring entitled, “Introduction to Native and Indigenous Peoples and Perspectives,” taught by Miami Law alumna Caroline LaPorte, a judicial advisor for the Seminole Tribe of Florida and an immediate descendant of the Little River Band of the Ottawa Indians (Bear Clan) of Manistee, Michigan. 

Natalia Brown, a senior majoring in Ecosystem Science and Policy, took the course this spring and shares her perspective on how it impacted her.

Natalia BrownA&S: Why did you decide to take this course?
My research interests on issues of energy justice and environmental health are inextricably linked to the scholarship and grassroots activist traditions of Native American and global Indigenous populations. Beyond my own independent studies, I’ve never taken a formal class on the ways in which Native peoples are experiencing and conceptualizing these struggles, so this class immediately caught my eye!

A&S: How has the course impacted you?
Natalia: Most importantly, the course made me realize that one class on these issues is not nearly enough. I have learned a great deal about my own positionality and privilege while gaining a more nuanced understanding of the sociohistorical context that we are living in.

A&S: Would you recommend this course to other UM students?
Natalia: Yes! I highly recommend the class. It was the perfect mix of intellectual challenge and self-reflection for future growth. It’s relevant for all students, and it provides a great first stepping stone for us to have more conversations about accountability and equity as members of the University of Miami community.