Rising: Native American students find a voice at CSUMB
Published December 15, 2016, on California State Bay University Monterey Bay Magazine by By Scott Roark
To read the full article, click here. This article features our own Senior Fellow, Kathryn England-Aytes:
Native Americans or as many prefer to be identified: Dine, Cherokee, Potawatomi and Choctaw among hundreds of other tribal identities, continue to be an integral part of our social fabric. The history of interactions between Native Americans and the United States government is long and complex. Before contact with settlers, nearly all indigenous groups in North America were communal societies, organized around systems of kinship and clan membership. Individuals did not own land and resources were shared by the group.
Pictures from the Second Annual Native American Gathering, held at the CSUMB University Center in November 2016. Participants came from the Kiowa, Lakota, Ute, Yaqui, Cherokee and Choctaw tribes, and the Tule River Native Veterans Post. (photos by Randy Tunnell).
From the beginning of settler contact, Native peoples endured grave injustices, including policies of extermination, forced removal, and assimilation. They were forced to adapt to an immigrating foreign culture that now, ironically, is becoming increasingly wary of immigration.
At CSUMB and other institutions, many Native students tend to be quiet. They don’t draw attention to themselves. Their fellow students are often oblivious to Native American history. Kathryn England-Aytes, a CSUMB psychology lecturer, and Browning Neddeau, an assistant professor of liberal studies, are among a number of Native faculty at CSUMB working to change that.
England-Aytes is of Cherokee descent. She was raised in Oklahoma and still resides there part-time, also teaching at Bacone College in Muskogee. Many of her tribal students in Oklahoma are first-generation students with strong cultural connections. Her teaching and research include perceptions of historical trauma, resilience and cultural identity for Native Americans and their descendants. Among many passions is her work with the Native American Children’s Alliance (NACA), an inter-tribal membership organization that promotes child abuse prevention in Native American communities.