Assistant Professor, History (Class III)
As a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, Malinda Maynor Lowery has been engaged in a variety of scholarly and community projects in the Lumbee community for the past 15 years. Those projects began with two short films, “Real Indian” and “Sounds of Faith,” which concern Lumbee identity, race and religion. The purpose of these films was to explain the intricacies of Lumbee identity to outsiders and to combat stereotypes about their culture and Native Americans in general. These films and much of her work since have been based on the premise that research and representation should be accountable to the community being represented. Over the years, Lowery has initiated various projects in the Lumbee community that have combined an understanding of culture and history with contemporary concerns around health care and economic development. Recently, she published a book, “Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation,” which discusses the ways Lumbees affirmed their identity and sought federal recognition during the Jim Crow era. Lowery continues to work closely with the Lumbee Tribe as they move forward in federal recognition status. Her recent engaged scholarship work includes being a film editor, instructor and media consultant for Native Tribal Scholars Youth Program in partnership between the University of Massachusetts-Boston, Regis College and the Boston Harbor Islands National Park.
With the Faculty Engaged Scholars (FES) program, Lowery’s interest grew from sharing to exploring mutually important questions. The program supported her exploration into the Lumbee Indian community of Robeson County, N.C., where she was born and is a tribal member. For many years she has been engaged in the artistic expression, oral history and family photographs in the Lumbee community. She has heard people connect history to their present day concerns, and through the FES fellowship she has focused on researching ways to further this dialogue through social media and the digital humanities.
“The Faculty Engaged Scholars program gave me a supportive, nurturing community of colleagues at UNC who either understood this work well, or are at the beginning of their journeys like I am. I learned so much from those folks and from the program itself that I hope to carry into my future work.”