New field of study broadens horizon

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Being a melting pot of culture and diversity, Pacific brings together students with heritage and lifestyles to share with the entire campus community. Sophomore Charlotte Basch is so passionate about her culture it captured the attention of the administration and made her the star of a Boxer Tale video.

The video features Basch’s Native American heritage and discusses the new Indigenous Studies minor Basch created with the help of faculty members.

Last fall, after talking to Basch’s adviser, professor of sociology and anthropology Cheleen Mahar, President Lesley Hallick set up a meeting with Basch to discuss her indigenous studies minor idea.

Basch said she spent the whole week before the meeting searching through the Pacific catalog to find current courses relevant to an indigenous studies program. Hallick encouraged Basch to continue developing her program. From there, with the help and support of faculty members, Basch created the minor.

Basch’s passion for her culture began with a childhood rich in Native American culture. Her mother is from the Puyallup, Coeur d’Alene and Yakama tribes and her father is from the Clatsop-Nehalem tribe.

Another inspiration to start the program was that fact that her father’s tribe is federally unrecognized. The Clatsop-Nehalem, native to the Oregon coast, signed the Tansy Point Treaty in 1851 with 19 other tribes from northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. The treaty was never ratified by the U.S. government and the 19 tribes never received the rights promised to them said Basch.

“Because of this, much of our traditional culture and language was lost,” said Basch. “Through education I hope to help my people to gain federal recognition and revive and revitalize our culture.

Basch said they hope to develop the minor to provide a full range of historical, political, anthropological and other understanding to its participants. Basch said she wouldn’t have been given such an opportunity anywhere else.

“The support from faculty and other members of Pacific’s family came from everywhere. It was amazing and truly inspiring,” said Basch. “I’m proud to attend a university that has so much interest in its student’s endeavors.”

Basch said the indigenous studies minor is a great area of study to apply to majors such as anthropology, sociology, psychology and health professions.

To watch Charlotte’s Boxer Tale video, visit


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