Native Vision: Milestones

Some of the major milestones in the development of American Indian studies and student services at Bemidji State University:

1960s —  Ongoing discussions occur about the potential for an academic program that would better serve the region’s American Indian population.

1969 —  The nation’s first collegiate Ojibwe language program and an Indian Studies degree are established.

1970 — The Indian Studies Center, also known as Anishinabe Family Center, opens in a former residence near campus as a gathering place for students and home to programs such as the Indian Community Action Project, serving tribes in four states.

1970 — American Indian students form Amerind Club, later renamed the Council of Indian Students. They organize BSU’s first American Indian Education and Awareness Week, featuring Lehman Brightman, director of Indian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, who took part in the 19-month Indian takeover of Alcatraz Island that began in November 1969.

1972 — The Council of Indian Students holds its first powwow.

1979 — The Oshkaabewis, reconfigured in 1990 as the Oshkaabewis Native Journal, begins publication as the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language.

2003 — The American Indian Resource Center, a replacement for the aging Indian Studies Center, opens with a celebration that includes a powwow, open house and ribbon cutting.

2015 — The Indian Studies program is renamed Indigenous Studies, offering not only a major but also a minor and emphasis.

May 2017 — BSU President Faith Hensrud and presidents of four Minnesota tribal colleges sign agreements to offer dual college-university enrollment to qualifying students.