The NMU Center for Native American Studies (CNAS) and the NMU Social Work Department (SWD) have collaborated to create the Native Circle team at NMU. The two departments received support from the U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Victim Services to implement the Serving Native Survivors Circle [Native Circle] project, a three-year endeavor that addresses the following challenges:
- Obstacles associated with internship field placement, employee recruitment, retention, and upward mobility within Bureau of Indian Affairs or Tribally Run Victim Service Programs (BIA-TRVSP) in rural areas;
- The lack of Native American Studies inclusivity within social work curriculum and subsequently, the limited numbers of social work professionals with such expertise; and
- The low numbers of American Indians graduating from university, specifically within the social work fields.
The Native Circle project seeks to increase internship opportunities and other incentives for NMU students wanting to work in the field of Social Work and with tribal communities. Existing NAS and SW courses are being transitioned into online platforms for students in rural areas. Academic programs have been added to the Native American Studies and Social Work curriculum to engage students with these topics and conversations in order to better serve Tribal Nations in rural areas.
- a new associate degree in Native American Community Services (effective Fall 2018)
- a new minor area of study in Native American Community Services (effective Fall 2018)
- and a Master's of Social Work (effective Fall 2019 - contact Social Work directly)