American Indian tribes across Minnesota may soon have a greater say in what happens at the five University of Minnesota campuses.
HOST: American Indian tribes may soon have a greater say in what happens at University of Minnesota campuses across the state.
Reporter Melissa Townsend has that story.
REPORTER: A few years ago leaders at the University of Minnesota Office of Equity and Diversity were urged to update the school’s policy on consulting with American Indians.
JOHNSON: Some tribal leaders weighed in and said if you are revising the policy, you need to consult with Indian tribes.
That’s where Tadd Johnson comes in.
He is a member of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe and a Professor in American Indian Studies at University of Minnesota Duluth.
He was tapped to meet with the leadership of all 11 tribes and American Indian students and faculty across the 5 U-M-N campuses.
For more than two years Tadd and his colleagues Rick Smith and Tammy Lawler - got an earful.
JOHNSON: We got the comment several times that the University of Minnesota is land grant institution and they have to remember where the land came from.
Now each University campus already has an American Indian advisory board made up of students anf faculty.
And those boards can meet with their campus Chancellor to share their experiences ands hopefully ikmpact policies on campus.
But when Tadd was meeting with tribes around the state, he heard them say they wanted greater access to top university leadership.
JOHNSON: So that tribal sovereignty is constantly enhanced, programs for American Indians are constantly being modernized and improved or kept the same if that’s what they want. A lot of folks talked about being culturally sensitive when doing research.
The goal is for the University be a destination institution for American Indians across the country. (possibly collapse this idea into voice track ahead of above sounds bite).
So Tadd Johnson and his team drafted a proposal for a new advisory committee.
It would be a new University-wide Native Nations Advisory Board.
It would have representatives from each tribe in Minnesota.
This Board would meet quarterly and have direct access to the University President.
JOHNSON: This board will offer meaningful consultation on matters related to research, discovery, teaching and learning, outreach and public service aspects of the missions of the university as it affects Native people.
This proposal for a new University tribal Advisory Board to the university is currently being reviewed by university officials.
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