A Western Michigan University professor will head a new indigenous studies program at Kansas University.
An American Indian historian and author has been appointed director of Kansas University's Indigenous Nations Studies Program, KU officials announced Wednesday.
Donald Fixico, who teaches history at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich., will join KU's faculty as a professor of history and will begin directing the new graduate program Jan. 1, said Sally Frost Mason, dean of KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Fixico is a member of the Shawnee, Sac and Fox, Creek and Seminole nations. He has been a professor of history at Western Michigan since 1990.
The new master's degree program is reportedly the only one in the nation encouraging the study of all indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere. It was developed in cooperation with Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence.
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway said KU officials are ``excited and fortunate to have a scholar of Don Fixico's caliber'' lead one of the nation's few graduate programs focusing on Native American communities.
``The connection with Haskell Indian Nations University allows us to foster new research and teaching partnerships between the two universities,'' he said.
Under Fixico's direction, several KU courses and programs focused on indigenous studies, such as the Tribal Law Center in KU's School of Law, the Center of Latin American Studies and the Anthropology Museum, will be consolidated and strengthened, Frost Mason said.
Fixico said the opportunity to work with Haskell faculty and students was a major factor in his decision. The new program encourages research of the traditions, cultural survival and aspirations for self-determination of American Indian peoples.
Fixico earned a Ph.D. in history in 1980 from the University of Oklahoma, where he also earned master's and bachelor's degrees in history.
Fixico has been a visiting lecturer and professor at several universities, among them UCLA and the University of Nottingham, England.