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East Central University students now have a chance to dig deep into their education…literally.

In its ever-changing and multi-offering classroom opportunities, the university has hired an archaeologist, Dr. Holly Jones, to play a vital role in a new concentration in the Native American Studies Program.

ECU is now offering a B.A. in Native American Studies – Cultural Resource Management. Within that program, Jones will be teaching courses in the Introduction of Cultural Anthropology and Archaeological Theory and Methods.

“In Archaeological Theory, students will learn about the history and the development of archaeology along with all the different field and lab methods,” said Jones. “They will learn about geophysics, dating methods, remote sensing, and a variety of methods of non-destructive methods such as metal detection and ground penetrating radar. They will also learn about mapping.”

Included are actual archaeological field work and hands-on experiences. According to Jones, all students have the opportunity to enroll in those classes, even as an elective.

Cultural Anthropology is one of the the four subfields of Anthropology and the focus of the class will be on how anthropologists study cultures.

The Native American Studies (NAS) Program is becoming a freestanding interdisciplinary program that is not under the jurisdiction of any department. The NAS will be supported by affiliate faculty in other departments at ECU.

These faculty members teach courses on Native American issues within their areas of expertise. For instance, Dr. Christine Pappas (Department of Politics, Law and Society) teaches Native American Law. Dr. Houston Mount (Department of History) teaches Native American History. Amy Ward (Department of Professional Programs and Human Services) teaches the Indian Child Welfare Act and Dr. Rebecca Nicholson-Weir (Department of English and Languages) teaches Native American Literature.

The entire program will be chaired by Dr. Scott Ketchum, who most recently served as a research scientist for the University of Oklahoma.

Jones received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in anthropology from the University of Texas-Arlington and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Missouri in Columbia as well.

She was owner and principal investigator of Archaeological Field Research LLC in Springfield, Missouri, where she had previously taught at Missouri State University. Her other teaching assignments have included Idaho State University.

Jones has been a professional archaeologist since 1995 and has directed cultural resource efforts since then. She has specialized in the Great Plains Region for much of her work.

As for the term “cultural resource management,” participation in this program takes on a multi-dimensional focus, according to Jones.

“People’s feelings, beliefs and attachments to places, spaces and activities are important to cultural heritage as well as the development of policies and procedures for historic preservation and the work in projects with federal involvement,” Jones said. “This program will give the students a foundation for their jobs or their pursuits of grad school. Everyone tied to cultural heritage wants to improve their stake, voice and the decisions that are made. Preservation of their heritage is important.”

Many careers in the field are available on the federal, state and tribal level, according to Jones who says the program is geared toward avenues such as historic preservation, archeology, policy development and museum curation.

Another career, for example, is a tribal historic preservation officer. “They must understand laws and regulations in order to make recommendations and help shape policies,” said Jones, who has served as a senior tribal archaeologist for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota.

“We are excited to have Dr. Jones join us. She is an accomplished archaeologist who can help East Central University expand Native American Studies in an important direction,” said Dr. Katherine Lang, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

For more information on the NAS-Cultural Resource Management Program call 580-559-5425 or email



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