Alumnus organizes Native American chapter
Joseph Bohanon has a way of bringing people together.
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma tribe member formed the Native American Student Association (NASA) while a UT Arlington student in 1994. Later he established the Tribal Hands United to Network and Determine Educational Resolve (THUNDER), a coalition of Native American clubs at 12 North Texas colleges and universities. He also co-founded the American Indian Community Council in Dallas, which started a health clinic in Tarrant County.
“It was really exciting during that period of time in 1994 because students were interested in the American Indian culture,” Dr. Bohanon says. “Thankfully, we had a dedicated adviser, Dr. Kenneth Roemer.”
Bohanon’s latest creation is the Native American Alumni Alliance (NAAA), which is calling on former NASA members to join. The group not only keeps former Mavericks together but also supports NASA scholarships. “We’ll focus on North Texas first, then move into Oklahoma,” he says of NAAA’s membership plans.
He is an elder for NASA and a regular at its annual Pow Wow, which is set for March on the UT Arlington campus. NAAA plans a recruitment drive then, too. Bohanon ’96 BSW, ’97 MSW is an associate professor and chair of the Division of American Indian Studies at Bacone College, a small private institution in Muskogee, Okla., created for American Indians in the 1880s.
“We hope American Indian students will complete their academic goals wherever they enroll,” he says. “Students can then give back to our American Indian communities as future leaders and role models for their tribal nations.”