Karla Casique

University of Maryland

Karla Casique is a third year student at the University of Maryland in College Park. She is a leader in the Indigenous community, taking the role as the Native American Community Organizing Student Intern at the Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy office and the president of the American Indian Student Union. She is also involved in the Latinx community, a member of the Coalition of Latinx Student Organizations. Through her leadership and efforts in social justice advocacy, "Christopher Columbus Day" was abolished in the University of Maryland, replaced with "Indigenous Peoples Day". Her work in journalism has highlighted the struggles faced my marginalized groups, especially undocumented immigrants. She hopes to continue to use her talents and skills to bring awareness to issues and create real change.

Wallace Loh
University of Maryland

Personal Statement

I was 12 years old when I realized that I was taught the wrong history. I had just finished watching the HBO movie, "Bury My Heart Wounded Knee", and my perception of the world was completely altered. Adapted from the book with the same title, it tells the Native American side of Manifest Destiny--the graveyard of broken treaties, the massacres masked as battles, the conquering of the West at the cost of the lives of millions of Indigenous peoples. Nowhere was the mention of how justified and inevitable was the expansion of the United States, or the glory of war and the hard work of the settlers like in The Little House in the Prairie series, which I devoured as a child.

This sparked my passion and determination to unlearn history, thoughts, perceptions and judgements. I noticed more and more the stereotypes and misconceptions about Indigenous peoples as I went through high school and college. I studied and read on my own about Native issues and rights, learning about the American Indian Movement in the 1960's and 1970's and about Indigenous cultures from all over the world. All of this helped me pinpoint the root causes of these issues--colonialism, which led to genocide, racism, rape, exploitation of the people and their lands, boarding schools and many more.

When I applied to be president of the American Indian Student Union, I wanted to bring awareness to these issues but also provide a platform for Indigenous students at the University of Maryland to celebrate their cultures. One of my first things to push was to change "Christopher Columbus Day" to "Indigenous Peoples Day" on the university's calendar and materials. Small steps add up to bigger changes and removing the name of the man who began the exploitation of the Americas was a priority. This way, Native

Karla Casique
Multi-platform Journalism: Class of 2018
written 2017

2017 Fellows Alphabetical by Institution

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Erica Cherian, UNC Charlotte Morgan Sweere, University of Central Arkansas Andrew Aboujaoude, University of Central Florida Jaylon Thomas, University of Central Oklahoma Akshayaa Chittibabu, University of Connecticut Marie Spence, University of Denver Nicolette Duong, University of Florida Bobbie Alcanzo, University of Great Falls Eisha Khan, University of Houston-Downtown Alexis Smyser, University of Illinois at Chicago Rudy Amaya, University of La Verne Duane Belanger, University of Maine at Fort Kent Karla Casique, University of Maryland Axel Bayingana, University of Maryland Eastern Shore Sophia Lopresti, University of Maryland, Baltimore County Andrew King, University of Massachusetts Boston Callie Nunez, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Luiza Kinzerska-Martinez, University of Miami Nadine Jawad, University of Michigan Zachary Hayes, University of Michigan - Flint Gemechu Mekonnen, University of Minnesota Madison Bick, University of Missouri - St. Louis Isabel Langlois, University of Montana Shayla McGregor, University of Montana Western Sophie Ramsey, University of Mount Union Jimmy Nguyen, University of Nebraska at Omaha Shannon Bodeau, University of North Carolina Asheville Cristian Ramos, University of North Georgia Karina Judith Ortega, University of North Texas at Dallas Melanie Majeed, University of Northern Iowa Sarah Tomas Morgan, University of Notre Dame Anea Moore, University of Pennsylvania Hashaam Jamil, University of Pittsburgh Wila Matos, University of Rhode Island Edgar Chavarria, University of San Diego Emery Smith, University of South Carolina Isaac Miles, University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) Corinne Tucker, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Richard Lee, University of Utah Rena Newman, University of Wisconsin - Madison Bianca Ruffolo, University of Wisconsin - Parkside Joanna (Jo) Niswonger, University of Wisconsin Colleges Yessenia Santamaria, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
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