Indigeneity Lab students honored with Student Activist Award 

An icon graphic representing A Culture of Inclusion from the Beyond Boundries Strategic PlanThe first student cohort of Marquette’s Indigeneity Lab, a group of eight student researchers, has been honored with the 2022 Student Activist Award from the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (WIPCS). The students include Danielle Barrett, Bailey Birenbaum, Clare Camblin, Rebecca DeBoer, Cameron Fronczak, Alex Liberato, Sir Lawrence Tender and Will Egan Waukau. 

The Marquette Indigeneity Lab supports the experiential learning of Marquette’s Indigenous undergraduate students through high-impact, faculty-mentored interdisciplinary undergraduate research. In addition to promoting respectful partnership and outreach with Wisconsin’s Indigenous communities, the program activates research topics that have significant implications for increased awareness and understanding of Indigenous history and culture in Milwaukee. 

The first student cohort of the lab spent last summer leading projects that built a data visualization map of Indigenous Milwaukee, conducted archival research on Catholic Indian Boarding Schools, and studied the potential for reintroducing wild rice seed varieties to the Menomonee River Valley. 

Each year the WIPCS Student Activist Award is presented to college students in Wisconsin who have made “an outstanding contribution to activism related to peace and justice issues and demonstrated commitment to peace and justice issues through participation in activism either on the home campus or in the larger community.” 

As noted in the award nomination letter, this group of eight students’ research and activism “radically attend to the erasure of Indigenous Peoples in Milwaukee and more broadly the United States. … It is clear these eight Indigeneity Lab students activated the Marquette mission in their discovery of truth and sharing of knowledge. But as great an impact was their personal awakening, not just around their research, but their identity and how they can give back to honor those cultural affiliations.” 

The Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, of which Marquette is a member, is a group of private and public colleges and universities that aim to spread awareness on the issues of peace and conflict. The institute is known as a valuable resource for institutions looking to internationalize and globalize their curricula and co-curricular programs. WIPCS encourages debate on such topics as foreign policy issues, areas of conflict, intercultural communication and gender relations.  

The students were recognized at a virtual event, “Student Teach-In: Thoughtful and Effective Activism on Campus,” hosted by the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies on Friday, April 22, and the award was presented at the “Aunties Circle Potluck: Supporting Indigenous Students” hosted at Marquette in the Maamawi Abiwin room on Sunday, April 24. 

The students were nominated by faculty mentors – Dr. Samantha Majhor, Dr. Bryan Rindfleish and Dr. Michael Schläppi – and Jacqueline Fontaine Schram from the Office of Institutional Engagement and Inclusion.