1) Hold and publicize discussions on how your ethnic group is under-represented, ignored and invisible on campus. (“Students, faculty, and Native American scholars discussed introducing an indigenous studies program as part of Friday’s Faculty House workshop on the under-representation of Native Americans in Columbia’s curriculum and faculty. …This is our homeland and being invisible is part of the problem…,” said Dawn Martin-Hill, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario – The Columbia Spectator, Feb. 25).
2) If, in fact, your ethnic group isn’t invisible and is already the subject of a variety of courses on campus, belittle those courses as woefully insufficient. (“Although the University offers some courses relating to Native Americans, some feel that the courses are too scattered across disciplines and schools to comprise a cohesive program” – The Spectator).
3) Make sure everyone knows you want an activist political group, not just an academic program (“It should be study to empower native people” said keynote speaker Michael Yellow Bird, a professor at the University of Kansas). On some campuses, working for the cause is required. At Carleton College, students who take a course on Native American religious freedom are expected to undertake “service projects” that get them involved in “matters of particular concern to contemporary native communities.”
4) Make clear that your program will not include any white professors who may be specialists in Indian cultures. (“Native American studies need to be coupled with Native scholars,” said JoAnn Kintz ’08, president of the Columbia Native American Council.”)
5) Pick a keynote speaker radical enough to show that you mean business and that your activist ethnic department will be a muscular one (Professor Yellow Bird thinks the disgraced fabulist Ward Churchill was railroaded and believes that “our traditional indigenous forms of morality” may be a corrective to “the U.S. addiction to greed, war, power and colonization.”)
6) Sit back and wait an hour or so until the campus diversity czar falls in line with your program (“We started to bring scholars to see what questions we should be asking and about creating a center,” said Geraldine Downey, vice-provost for diversity initiatives at Columbia. “The university is committed.”)