New program coordinator of the Benjamin Ramirez Multicultural Center
Benjamin Ramirez joined the Multicultural Center as the new Multicultural Program Coordinator, a position committed to developing and facilitating intersectional diversity learning and community building opportunities. Ramirez specializes in Indigenous and Indigenous culture, history and experience. It will offer culturally appropriate support to students and groups of students, fostering a welcoming environment and affirming all identities and lived experiences.
“I was fortunate to have met a few Native staff and faculty before I thought about joining the Multicultural Center,” said Ramirez. “I was pleased to learn of the efforts of the University of Arkansas to increase awareness of Indigenous peoples on its campus. I am excited to be a part of the growth and development of potential programs, trainings, and other events where Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are being discussed. I hope to create programs that allow Indigenous students to feel welcomed and supported throughout their academic careers. Some of the current programs I can think of include culture, community and connections such as listening circles and storytelling, as well as Indigenous history and current issues facing Indigenous communities at the local, national level. and international. I also hope to co-create a community of sincere learners in their desire to learn more about Indigenous peoples.
Benjamin Ramirez has experience as a college professor, programming, research / project development, and work with Indigenous and Indigenous communities on a personal and professional level. As an urban Ojibwe, he wants to continue learning and reclaiming the Ojibwe language and cultural traditions and using them to continue to shape who he is personally and professionally. This informs about how he interacts with students, faculty, and staff.
“Ben is focused on creating diverse, equitable and inclusive learning environments,” said Adrain Smith, director of the multicultural center. “Already he is helping us learn and grow in our commitment to recognize and value the historical and present significance and contributions of Indigenous peoples and students on our campus. It’s going to have a huge impact.
Ramirez received his BA in Anthropology from Central Michigan and his MA in Language, Reading, and Culture from the University of Arizona in 2018. He is completing his PhD. in Teaching, Learning, and Socio-Cultural Studies with a Minor in Language and Literacy from the University of Arizona. His thesis is entitled “The (De) colonization of Memory: A Critical Analysis of United States History Textbooks and the Struggle for Indigenous Futurity”.
“While I was a teaching assistant, I had the opportunity to work with various students in different classroom settings,” he said. “While discussing Aboriginal history with trainee social studies teachers, I simultaneously thought about my dissertation research that led me to examine the importance of settler stories in high school history textbooks. Precisely because of the fact that students generally rely on it as their knowledge base for the indigenous peoples of the United States. Each of these experiences taught me the importance of patience and the change that comes with learning new information. The teachings of the Medicine Wheel have been powerful in both of these areas. In the personal domain, I have learned to see myself in relation to others. The teachings of the Medicine Wheel provided powerful avenues for empathy and sympathy with others. Professionally, this has made it possible to develop different forms of analysis and solutions to problems. In other words, the Medicine Wheel The teachings inform how I interact with all of these relationships in the world. “
Regarding his first month with the Multicultural Center, Ramirez said, “Our collective goal is to make you feel welcomed, respected and supported. We are all willing to work with you, with each other and with each other staff and faculty to make sure It is my hope to help create a campus climate that is much more receptive to Indigenous students and a campus that recognizes local and national histories as well as the contributions of indigenous peoples.