Much of LSC professor Patty Loew’s research has focused on how indigenous people use media to form identity, reconstruct the past, and assert their sovereignty and treaty rights. A member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, Loew’s passion for First Nation communities has led her to write multiple books and articles on Native topics, produce Native-themed documentaries, and teach various courses related to indigenous populations including the course LSC 444: Native American Environmental Issues and the Media.
Recently, her passions led her to a unique project. Loew is now working with the School of Human Ecology (SoHE) leading the UW-Native Nations Initiative, a partnership between UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and UW Colleges to improve the relationship between the University of Wisconsin and the twelve Indian nations located in the state.
In the past UW-Madison, UW-Extension, and UW Colleges have partnered with Native Nations on various efforts surrounding health services, environmental preservation, economic development, education, and more. However, past partnership and support has sometimes been uneven, informal, or unsustainable. The UW-Native Nations Initiative aims to build more respectful and reciprocal partnerships between the University of Wisconsin and Native Nation communities across the state.
“We haven’t done a good job of making our UW campuses welcoming spaces for Native students and our research approaches haven’t always been respectful. We believe that we need to make changes,” Loew said.