To fill an unmet need in Maryland the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) at Catonsville recently started offering a Native American Studies program.
According to the program’s coordinator, Stephanie A.L. Molholt, there are currently no Native American Studies programs in the state of Maryland so this one “meets a compelling need.”
She said the program enhances and furthers the school’s mission “by linking CCBC to under-recognized and under-served communities in Maryland and the U.S.”
She said the program aims to provide “a broad foundation in indigenous cultures and current events. The program’s curriculum in Native American histories, religions, literatures, arts, and politics aims to generate knowledge and respect for indigenous nations as well as foster critical thinking and socially responsible research.”
Molholt said there are six students currently enrolled in the program and three of them are Native American students.
But CCBC may not have the only Native studies program for long, according to its website, the University of Maryland is in the process of working on a proposal for a Native studies minor and plans to have it established this year.
There are currently no federally or state recognized tribes in Maryland, but according to the 2010 Census, 20,420 people living in the state identify as American Indian or Alaska Native, 3,157 identify as Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. Another 15,044 people identify as white and American Indian or Alaska Native.
According to a November 2011 story posted at the MarylandReporter.com, there are two tribes currently petitioning the state for recognition: the Accohannock Indian Tribe and the Piscataway Conoy Tribe.