Since Professor Stephanie Molholt arrived at CCBC Catonsville in 2009 to teach classes on the topic of Native Americans, she has watched interest in the subject grow from one section of a Native American history class to five sections.
Students are intrigued by a subject they don't know much about, she said.
"We don't do a good job teaching native history," Molholt said.
So with the increased interest in the topic, the timing was right for the community college to start a Native American studies program. Students can now take classes under a transfer pattern that will go towards four-year universities. Students will be able to take classes in history, literature and culture.
CCBC's program is the first of its kind in Maryland, but it is an expanding field in the last decade, according to the University of Richmond. The program's launch also comes within weeks of Gov. Martin O'Malley's executive order recognizing two Maryland tribes as distinct people.
The community college is also hosting an event next week that will be a festival with native food, dancing and a presentation by Dennis Banks, the co-founder of the American Indian movement.
The event is Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. at the Catonsville gym and is free and open to the public.