The University of Redlands and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians have partnered to create a Native American studies program and have chosen a former Montana State University professor to chair it.
As the new endowed chair Lawrence Gross will teach and develop courses and provide leadership for the new program at the university.
The position is new and was created with support from San Manuel in the form of $3.7 million.
“This program is an important link to the future as it will provide Natives and non-Natives alike with an even greater understanding of the history and culture of the First Americans in our region,” said San Manuel Chairman James Ramos, in a release. “We are grateful that Dr. Gross is coming on board with his impeccable talent and credentials to build this exciting program.”
Gross, who is of Anishinaabe descent from the White Earth Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota, officially starts September 1.
He will be in charge of developing the undergraduate curriculum with a focus on national and California Native American perspectives, taking into account history and culture of local tribes.
David Fite, the university’s vice president for academic affairs, called Gross’s resume “impressive,” and noted how he has published on a number of Native American issues including pedagogy, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and his own tribe’s culture and religion.
While a professor at Montana State University Gross launched a website to help veterans cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in memory of his uncle Leo Vernon Beaulieu—a Marine who was killed in Vietnam in 1966 and won a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross posthumously.
Prior to teaching Native American studies in Montana, Gross also taught at Iowa State University and the University of Vermont.