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Native American Cultural Center revived after 9 years

Rutgers took another step toward the integration of diversity in its student population by restarting the Native American Cultural Center after nine years.

Keith Ross, director of the Native American Welcome Center, restarted the association last January, after it was terminated in 2006.

The club has several big plans up its sleeve and hopes to make a difference for Native American students, who are statistically underrepresented at the University.

Financial support and scholarships are available for students who identify themselves as Native American.

The club also plans to hold several "powwows," which are family-gathered symposiums with guest-speakers, that aim to provide information about Native American families.

Ross planned a 12-speaker series with guest speakers such as Autumn Wind Scott, commission chair representing the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nation and Rev. John Norwood, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Travel Councilman.

Kathalina Alonso, president of the Native American Cultural Center and a School of Arts and Sciences senior, hopes to impact the academic and admissions department at Rutgers.

Her goal is to encourage the University to draw up a Native American Curriculum as part of the Department of American Studies.

It would be a shame" if this did not happen since Rutgers is a highly diverse school, Alonso said.

Monica Torres, a researcher for the association, wants to focus on the admissions and retention rates of Native American students.

She hopes to create bonds with current, as well as future students in high schools around the state so they know that Rutgers is a supportive place for Native American students.

“I don’t want to write their narrative,” Torres said. “I just want to highlight theirs ... and share it with the University.”

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