New name, same vital mission: The Office of Indigenous Affairs
Native American Programs office shifts moniker to reflect student identity and services
Beginning this month, Central Michigan University’s Office of Native American Programs will go by a new name: the Office of Indigenous Affairs.
Colleen Green, director of the Office of Indigenous Affairs, said the new name better reflects the identities of the students it serves and the scope of its service to the CMU community.
“Native American and American Indian are governmental terms referring only to the Indigenous people of the United States,” Green said. “Indigenous is much broader and more inclusive of our relatives in North and Central America, as well as other communities across the globe.”
Green said CMU serves students from Canada who may identify as First Nations people, as well as students from Central America who identify as Indigenous. Changing the name of the office ensures Indigenous students from any culture can find community at CMU, she said.
Green said the name change also better reflects the broad scope of work of the office.
“In addition to providing engaging educational programming, the Office of Indigenous Affairs also plays an important role in recruiting prospective students, mentoring current students, engaging in large projects for the university community, partnering with the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe and the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, and more,” she said.
For example, over the past year, students and staff representing the Office of Indigenous Affairs served on the committee to bring a new mural celebrating Indigenous history and culture to the Bovee University Center, and also organized and produced the annual Celebrating Life Pow wow. This week, Green and others will host 8th- through 12th-grade students interested in exploring life at college during CMU’s annual North American Indigenous Summer Enrichment Camp.