Cindy Krafka and Mari Medura were guest speakers in Dr. Sadja Qureshi’s Advanced Research in Information Systems class, a microenterprise development class for doctoral students in the information systems and/or information technology area. Two of Dr. Qureshi’s students, Bo Guo, a doctoral student from Shanxi, China, and Jae Gilbert, a communication graduate student, are researching Indian Country and how IT can contribute to legitimization of UNO’s Native American Studies Alumni Association (NASAA) through the lens of social capital theory. A new and improved website, for example, can assist with fundraising, recruiting and keeping alumni in touch. Cindy and Mari along with other NASAA members have been working at the grassroots level to help fund the Pendleton Indian blankets used in the honoring ceremonies for all students—Native and non-Native—who minor in Native American Studies so that come graduation day each can display their ceremonial objects as they receive their diploma. In the past, NAS faculty purchased the blankets themselves but there are many more students now.
Cindy answered questions from students about Indian Country and told insightful personal stories about her own journey as an urban Indian in Lincoln who spent every summer on the Rez with her grandmother. She believes that sharing parts of her life and those of her ancestors help overcome prejudice.
Jae, who is working with NASAA as part of the microenterprise class and independent study, said that her study thus far of Native American issues has opened her eyes. “What amazes me is that I don’t ever recall studying genocide, treaties, acts, assimilation, urban relocation or issues with sovereignty in Indian Country in high school. Thus, as a nontraditional, middle-aged student at the tail end of graduate school, I am finally learning what I wish I had learned many years ago. Cindy said that ‘once introduced to Indian Country, you’re never the same.’ In that, she is absolutely right. I am so looking forward to the Pow Wow in April.”