From UW News Service
Students in Chantal Norrgard’s Study of First Nations Women class partnered with KUWS to write and record radio spots that tell the story of Indigenous women and their historical significance. Through the project, students learn to recognize the importance of First Nations women in the United States today and in history, and to educate others through the power of storytelling.
Students researched and produced spots about Molly Brant, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and others. One student, Pat Northrop, who is a nontraditional student studying art and business at UW-Superior, wrote and recorded an audio story about her aunt.
“I chose to memorialize my aunt Iola Columbus. Her Dakota name given to her by my great-grandmother is He Hotan Win, which means Grey Horn Woman,” Northrop said. “She was the first woman chairperson for the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota. During her time as tribal chairwoman, she secured funds to meet the basic needs of the people, such as a tribal center, healthcare, education dollars, housing and social services. She was an advocate for battered women’s issues and she sat on the first Mashkawisen, American Indian Primary Treatment Programs board. She was also a great mother, cook, and had a great sense of humor.”
The project is an example of the UW-Superior’s commitment to Academic-Service Learning, which provides opportunities for students to engage in community service through coursework.
“I am in awe of how seriously the students took the basic parameter of recording a short biography for an assignment and made it so meaningful,” said Chantal Norrgard, assistant professor of First Nations and Indigenous Studies. “In the process of discussing their ideas and practicing their scripts, they learned from one another and bonded over the experience. They have succeeded in teaching us about Indigenous women and their under-recognized importance in history and the ways that their stories still resonate.