A University built on traditional Menominee and Ho-Chunk land is thinking of the past for a future program.
"Our first doctoral degree is a recognition of that tradition of honoring indigenous people," First Nation studies professor Lisa Poupart said.
Next fall, UW-Green Bay will launch a new program in First Nations education. The schools first doctoral program is also the first of it's kind in the state.
"They start with introductory courses, like an introductory course in first nations education and include courses in first nations law and policy, sovereignty," Poupart said.
From there, students can take higher level courses of greater depth.
"Our students will be working and training to address issues of concern in the surrounding communities, and that called for a need to do research and address those kinds of concerns, and thus the courses in grant writing for example, or statistics so students can generate research and apply for grants," Poupart said.
Poupart is one of the early leaders of the program. She said the goal of this degree is for students to leave the program ready to make a difference.
"Community members talked about the need to have graduates leaving the program that could address issues regarding water quality for example, environmental issues," Poupart said.
Those community members will also play a role. Poupart said that elders will come in and share their knowledge during the program, helping students continue their work and honor traditions.
"The program is centered around fostering those relationships," Poupart said.
It gives students a chance to work together, grow together, and learn together.