Caroline Rowland Photo Provided

Caroline Rowland is making teaching and learning about Native history and culture easier at Texas Christian University.

Rowland creates Native American resource guide for Texas Christian University

By Chris Jennings
March 1, 2022

Caroline Rowland is proud of her Choctaw heritage and knows the history of her tribe. She’s also a criminal justice major and history and writing double minor at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. During a recent U.S. history class, when the Trail of Tears was only briefly discussed, she was confused and even a little upset.

Rowland says she was trying not to get angry, and that’s when she realized that maybe it was a resource issue. “Growing up, that was just part of who I was, and it’s a large part of Oklahoma history,” said Rowland. She realized that it might be challenging for people who haven’t been surrounded by Native culture to sift through different tribes and their history and culture.

Rowland began to think of ways to help students and faculty access the missing resources. As a member of the Chancellor’s Leadership program at TCU, Rowland must create a project that could be implemented in the TCU community. The program aims to teach individuals to become ethical leaders and responsible citizens.

As a responsible Choctaw citizen, Rowland is using this required leadership project as an opportunity to make TCU a better school, not just now but for future students as well. Rowland is creating a Native American resource guide that will contain contact information for tribes and stories and history that students and faculty will be able to use.

“It’s [going to be] a resource guide that has information on how different departments can implement and recognize Native American history,” said Rowland. The guide will have course information for students and recommendations for faculty to incorporate Native American history into their classes.

Students and faculty will be able to access the guide online through their regular portal where they currently do coursework. There will also be department-specific sections, so relevant information is easier to find.

The response to the project has been great. Rowland has asked the board of directors, alumni and student organizations for input. “Everyone has reacted really positively and really wants to help,” said Rowland.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome and Rowland encourages anyone interested in the guide to contact her. “The biggest thing is that it’s out there, and it’s open to any change they see fit. If someone wants to come with suggestions or concerns, I’m available,” she said. If you’re interested in contributing to Rowland’s guide, you can contact her at [email protected]

There’s a plaque on the TCU campus that says, “TCU acknowledges the many benefits, responsibilities and relationships of being in this place, which we share with all living beings. We respectfully acknowledge all Native American peoples who have lived on this land since time immemorial. TCU especially acknowledges and pays respect to the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, upon whose historical homeland our university is located.”

With Caroline Rowland’s help, TCU is making sure the sentiment in the statement above doesn’t just stay on the campus as a plaque to be read in passing but goes out into the world as learned respect for Indigenous cultures.