Students and Professors at TAMU-CC Curate a Research Guide of Indigenous-centered Resources

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The Indigenous Resource Guide will be made available at Bell Library on November 1st. Chloe Tilley/Island Waves

Chloe Tilley, Reporter

President Joseph R. Biden made a proclamation marking November as National Native American Heritage Month during October of 2021. Within the month, the culture and heritage of Native Americans are acknowledged and celebrated. For this month, Professors Corinne Zeman, Dale Pattison, Peter Moore, Isaac Hinojosa, Sarah Salter, and Robin Carstensen, along with student volunteers, plan to curate a guide centered around Indigenous resources. 

Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi observes various holidays that bring awareness to marginalized and minority groups and these professors and students are looking to add Indigenous Awareness Month.

“In the past 2021 to 2022 school year, it came to the attention of some of the faculty in English and History that our campus didn’t have significant resources that would allow us to celebrate Indigenous voices on campus. We [English and History faculty] collectively came up with the idea of doing any number of things to ensure we’re recognizing native students and paying attention to the trials and traumas of southern colonialism,” Dr. Zeman said. It was Professor Zeman’s idea to bring students into this research.

Samara Neal, a junior English major, volunteered to take part in the curation of this guide. “I volunteered in this project because I believe students that attend the school should have more knowledge when it comes to Indigenous groups, especially since our college is built on indigenous grounds. It allows me and others to learn about the group and gain knowledge about their background,” Samara said.

The project is set to benefit not just the Indigenous community, but those of the wider community who would like to learn more about this subject. “It’s crucial that the research guide doesn’t simply include academic resources but also more public facing materials. Material that makes this subject matter available and accessible,” Dr. Zeman said. 

Patricia Hernandez, co-chair for the Bell Library’s inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility committee, commented on the library’s goals for the new Indigenous resource guide. “The materials presented in the guide can hopefully expand someone’s world beyond the one they already know. . . Looking beyond yourself, finding the similarities, the differences – while appreciating those differences, all of this enriches your world while developing your emotional intelligence and empathy. Ideally, as we develop these empathetic skills, we become more accepting, more inclusive. Equally, representation matters – so much so, I’ll repeat it, representation matters!” Dr. Hernandez said. 

It is important to make a research guide centered around Indigeneity due to the erasure of native voices and the representation they, like every community, require. “While it is important to do research in the many areas of racial and social justice, there is an added layer of keeping these stories and the histories of these people alive. Often forgotten, neglected, or ignored – whether willfully or not – this research can pull them from the shadows and bring the richness of their past, their present, and their future into the light,” Dr. Hernandez said.

The research guide will be available on the Mary and Jeff Bell Library website and will aid students in research on Indigenous history and lives. The student volunteers are projected to be finished by October 12th to submit to Dr. Zeman for revision and approval. The English and History faculty of Texas A & M University – Corpus Christi hope that this guide will build the foundation of celebrating native voices so that this month becomes an institutionally recognized heritage month on campus.

“One of the things we’re imagining the guide to do is build and cultivate greater trust between the university and Indigenous local collectives,” Dr. Zeman said. “The faculty and students here are really invested in making sure that we’re ethical stewards of Indigenous resources. That we recognize not only are we occupying Indigenous land, but we need to treat their texts and cultural artifacts with proper respect.”

For more information on the resource guide, contact Dr. Corrine Zeman and Dr. Patricia Hernandez. The resource guide will be available on the Mary and Jeff Bell Library website during the month of November.