A new documentary explores the history of Arab Americans in Indianapolis. IUPUI Professor Edward Curtis spent the last few years working on the project.
A local professor spent the last few years documenting the history of Arab Americans in Indianapolis. WFYI’s Taylor Bennett spoke with Edward Curtis, chair of Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, about the project — Arab Indianapolis: A Hidden History — and why it was important to shed light on the impact of the community on the city and state.
WFYI’s Taylor Bennett: Why did you think it was important to tell this story?
Chair of Liberal Arts and professor of religious studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, Edward Curtis: Well, the film begins with the 2015 attempt of former Gov. Mike Pence to ban Syrian refugees from resettling in our state. A decision that eventually was overturned in federal court, and was very unpopular among a lot of people. For Arab Americans, it was particularly painful. Our people had been settling in this state since the late 1800s. And as I say, in the film, one of us, Mitch Daniels became governor, the governor that preceded Mike Pence in the office.
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