Adam Recvlohe has waited a year for what he wanted, and now it's here. After lobbying Student Government and UF administrators, Recvlohe was able to make the American Indian and Indigenous Studies minor a reality at UF this semester.
The new minor is offered by the department of anthropology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Recvlohe, an indigenous Yuchi and Mvskoke, said his concern about the lack of programs for American Indians inspired him to push for the minor.
The minor requires the completion of courses Native American History to 1815 and Native American History Since 1806.
It also requires the completion of nine elective history courses.
The road to the minor has been long and frustrating.
Recvlohe sought SG's help in creating the minor in summer 2006. He found a senator who supported the creation, but no real help came for six months.
While waiting for SG to act, he found the help he needed from Sheila Dickison, associate dean for academic affairs in the CLAS. Dickison was optimistic about the program's future. She said the college had enough classes related to Native American history to offer the minor without hiring additional faculty or adding courses.
"This minor provides diversity in our curriculum and allows students to investigate an important area in our own cultural heritage," Dickison said. "The minor will provide visibility for American Indian and Indigenous Studies on this campus in a way that has not existed before."
Recvlohe said he was disappointed that the university did not offer a minor when he first enrolled.
"I wish people had noticed before," said Recvlohe, a political science major. "The minor could have been there, but no one really wanted to organize it."
Recvlohe, president of the 500 Nations club, said his goal this year is to be supportive to incoming American Indian students. He said he hopes the minor will inspire UF to make a better effort to recruit more American Indian students.
Recvlohe said the minor could help American Indian students identify with their cultures and learn more about their history.
He also said the minor could give students a different perspective of Native Americans rather than the stereotypical images of people in feather headdresses.
Recvlohe describes the minor as eclectic and broad-ranged, teaching about the indigenous cultures of the Amazon and the Americas.
"I think it'll reach to the spirit of people at UF," said Recvlohe, "I think it'll really touch people in a humanistic way to see what American Indians have gone through. This will help them to recognize the past to see what can be done in the future."