IUPUI's Johnny Flynn Passionate About His Community
Condensed by Native Village
Dr. Johnny Flynn is Director of Native American Programs at IUPUI (Indiana University and Purdue University in Indianapolis.)
Flynn is half Potawatomi and half Irish. His mother and grandmother helped him learn his heritage by sharing the traditional Potawatomi stories handed down for hundreds of years. The Potawatomi culture itself is over 9,000 years old.
"You need to be patient and listen to those old people," he says. "And you'll finally get it."
Flynn uses these oral traditions in his classroom so students understand how stories help us learn and how important they are in Native cultures. History is another passion he uses to tie Natives' traditional lives to the modern world.
Flynn has a deep spiritual connection to Indiana because many Native American tribes called it home. Today, more than 160 different tribes live in the state. Flynn would like to see them more involved. He hopes IUPUI will "start a discussion and speak for those whose voices are not heard" within the Native American community.
Develop programs with the Minority Heath Coalition for the American Indian Center of Indiana;
"The Internet is the modern smoke signal," Flynn says. "Being able to use the web for networking has proven invaluable."
Flynn also wants to create a network through his classroom called the "Native American Indian Curriculum Project. He has collected students' materials and projects on many Native topics. He hopes to "plug" that information into local high schools. The work students do in his class will become part of the high school curriculum.