by Sara Abraham-Oxford
Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Donna Akers’ research focuses on Native American history, aiming to connect the legal and extra-legal historical actions of the U.S. government and its citizens with consequences for Native Americans. She is currently working on an article titled “Decolonizing the Master Narrative: Treaties and Other American Myths” to be published in the spring edition of the Wicazo Sa Review. She says the article discusses how U.S. college-level history text books tell a less-than-truthful version of westward movement without portraying the authenticity of the Native American experience of warfare, taking of land, conquest and exploitation.
Akers, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is also working on a book, Genocide in America: The Destruction of Native Americans by the U.S. Government, to be published in 2014. She has authored two previous books about Choctaw history and culture.
A mainstream narrative in elementary school that contrasted greatly with the history she had learned from family spurred her study of Native American history, Akers recalls. Her Choctaw grandmother’s comment that “we don’t interfere with the stories they tell themselves” also stayed with her and provided additional motivation to pursue graduate school. “I wanted to write about Native American history from an indigenous point of view. Native scholars call this field Decolonization History and it is considered a counter-narrative to mainstream U.S. history,” Akers says.
Akers, who is an Associate Professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPA) at UT Arlington in addition to serving as the Director of School’s INTS program, spoke about her research to SUPA’s Ph.D. Colloquium earlier in the semester and presented a lecture titled ‘How to Discover Your Native Roots’ in November as part the University’s Native American Heritage Month.
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Dr. Karabi Bezboruah’s paper “Community Organizing for Health Care: An Analysis of the Process” was published in the Journal of Community Practice, Vol 21.
A blog post discussing Bezboruah’s paper and its relevance notes, “New research from The University of Texas at Arlington presents three ways to overcome common barriers that nonprofits face when building capacity to address community needs.”
The blog post states, “Bezboruah offers three conclusions to overcome the nearly universal barriers of exclusion of low-income individuals, stake-holders’ misaligned ideologies and approaches, and public apathy. And they’re not all that different from previous community-based participatory initiatives.”
The post found on Georgia Nonprofit NOW, a blog from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, outlines Bezboruah’s conclusions as noted below:
Grassroots identification of the problem: Allowing the service beneficiaries to identify the needs of their community will translate to more appropriately informed results as potential solutions and the organizational processes develop.
Identiﬁcation of community speciﬁc solutions through collaborative discussions: With the leadership of a facilitator and the inclusion of all stake-holders — community members, service providers, public officials, and beneficiaries — in the development of goals and objectives, consensus can be achieved, creating more holistic solutions to the community-identified issues.
Building public buy-in: Advocacy is an essential piece of nonprofits’ responsibility in their communities (and even more broadly for more universal issues). Through the “use of community resources to educate the public and generate opinion about the critical problems faced by the community,” awareness and support can be built among stake-holders and the general public alike.
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Photo courtesy Ivonne Audirac
Dr. Ivonne Audirac was an invited discussant at a roundtable that addressed ‘The Global Challenge of Shrinking Cities’ as part of the Cities Regrowing Smaller conference held recently in Essen, Germany.
The European Cooperation for Science and Technology website states, “To deal with the results of demographic, economic and physical contraction processes and to plan for the future of considerably smaller but nevertheless livable cities accordingly is one of the most challenging tasks in the near future.”
The site notes the purpose of the conference was to, “bring together experts from different arenas to share their knowledge on the shrinking cities process and to discuss possible approaches to deal with shrinkage.”
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Photo Credit: Sacramento Tree Foundation website
Through a project titled Monitoring and Modeling Tree Growth, Longevity and Performance, Dr. Yekang Ko states she, “will examine the effects of shade trees on building energy performance in Sacramento, CA.”
According to Ko, the prime sponsor of the study is the United States Forest Service.
“Using field surveys and remote sensing technologies,” Ko said she will “conduct time series analysis to document changes in tree survival, growth, and energy performance for a sample of Sacramento shade trees planted by Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) around 254 residences from 1991-1993.”
She goes on to say, “This database will be used with the building energy model to calculate effects of each Sacramento Shade Program tree on respective building energy performance over the 20-year period. The long-term effectiveness of different species and locations will be assessed.”
Ko is a professor in the City and Regional Planning Program in the School of Urban and Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Arlington.