40th Annual Symposium on American Indian is April 9-14 at NSU

(Tahlequah, Okla.)--Marking four decades of celebrating indigenous cultures and addressing issues affecting tribes, the 40th Annual Symposium on the American Indian is April 9-14 on the campus of Northeastern State University.

Preliminary symposium activities begin April 9, with the full schedule running April 11-14. This year’s theme is “The Journey of Sovereign Nations: Self-Determination and Human Rights.” The event is organized by NSU’s Center for Tribal Studies and the American Indian Heritage Committee.

"The symposium will reflect on four decades of change for American Indians from the 1970s revitalization of tribal governments to the more recent United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," said Dr. Phyllis Fife, director of the Center for Tribal Studies. “The lineup of distinguished speakers represent leading scholars and professionals. Throughout the week of activities, the history, education, human experiences, the arts, social well-being and politics that impact tribal governments and indigenous peoples will be examined.”

Confirmed speakers for the symposium include Walter Echo-Hawk, Quinton Roman Nose, Marcella Giles, LeAnne Howe and Sterlin Harjo.

Echo-Hawk is an author and attorney. He has worked to protect the legal, political, property, cultural and human rights of Indian tribes and Native peoples. He will deliver the opening keynote address on “Implementing the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” He is the author of "In the Courts of the Conqueror: The 10 Worst Indian Law Cases Ever Decided, " which will be the topic of his Wednesday afternoon session. Echo-Hawk is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation.

Roman Nose served as the education director of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. He helped develop the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford. He currently serves as president of the National Indian Education Association. Roman Nose will speak on the Indian Education Act and the involvement of the NIEA in the professional development of teachers and other educators, and as a voice for improvement of education delivery for Indian children and adults. He is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nation.

Giles has served as attorney general for the Muscogee (Creek) and Seminole nations. Now in private practice, she is a consultant on trust reform for the Intertribal Monitoring Association on Indian trust funds. She will deliver an address on Indian land rights and trust issues. Giles, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Oklahoma native, has held positions with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Her legal experience included cases involving individual Indian allottees in federal and state courts and Individual Indian Money (IIM) account holders in eastern Oklahoma for oil and gas issues. She is involved with cultural resources protection, economic development and environmental compliance.

LeAnne Howe is an author, playwright and scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she teaches American Indian Studies, literature, film studies, performance and Indigenous theater. An award winning author and poet, she was selected as the John and Renee Grisham writer-in-residence at the University of Mississippi at Oxford for 2006-2007. She also wrote and narrated a PBS documentary, “Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire” in 2006, and co-wrote, with James Fortier the documentary “Playing Pastime: American Indian Fast-Pitch Softball,” and “Survival.” Her book “Miko Kings: An American Indian Baseball Story” (2007) examines the roots of American baseball.

In 2010-2011 Howe received the Distinguished William J. Fulbright Scholarship and lived in Amman, Jordan, during the “Arab Spring” where she taught at the University of Jordan and researched a new novel. She recently won the Tulsa Library Trust’s American Indian Words Award. Howe is an enrolled citizen of the Choctaw Nation.

Harjo is an award-winning filmmaker. On April 10 he will host a seminar, “The Digital Native Voice,” from 3-5 p.m. and the American Indian Film Series from 7-9 p.m. in the auditorium of the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center. The afternoon seminar will focus on contemporary approaches in American Indian filmmaking.

Harjo belongs to the Creek and Seminole tribes and is a writer, producer, director and documentarian for film. With roots in rural Hughes and Seminole counties, he remains immersed in the traditions and language of Creek and Seminole life. At age 23 he began writing and making films from a perspective inside the Native community. Eight years later, his roster includes two feature films, each of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival: “Four Sheets to the Wind” (2007) and “Barking Water” (2008). His work includes a growing number of documentary films and a short narrative. He was named one of the Sundance Film Institute’s first five Annenberg Film Fellows in 2004 and received the Creative Promise Award from Tribeca All Access in 2006. In 2010 he was invited to be a juror at Sundance for his unique perspective and range of experience. He is currently creating documentaries for This Land Press in Tulsa and working on other creative projects.

Leading the 10th Annual Indigenous Language Documentation and Revitalization Seminar, co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Native Language Association, is Dr. Mary Linn of the University of Oklahoma Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. She will be assisted by Dr. Colleen Fitzgerald from the University of Texas-Arlington and Dr. Brad Montgomery-Anderson of the NSU College of Liberal Arts.

The seminar is 6-8 p.m. on April 12 and 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. on April 13 in the University Center Morgan Room. Open to everyone, the target audience will be language instructors, students, language learners, researchers, linguists and program developers. The central theme will be “pronunciation.”

Linn will speak Thursday evening with a “state of the state overview” of language happenings in Oklahoma and the growing role of second language learners in Native language revitalization efforts. On Friday, Fitzgerald will address “The Grammar of Sound: Creating Sound Memories for Language Teaching.” Fitzgerald is the chair of the Department of Linguistics and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

Montgomery-Anderson, assistant professor of English at NSU, conducts the Oklahoma Workshop on Native American Languages (OWNAL) on Saturday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the UC Morgan Room. OWNAL is a workshop focused on descriptive studies of indigenous languages of North America. The primary audience will be professional linguists and linguistics scholars. A registration fee is required. Contact Montgomery-Anderson at 918-444-3610 for information.

April 13-14 is the always popular NSU Powwow which will include the Gourd Dance, Grand Entry, intertribal dancing, contests and vendors. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Friday and 2-midnight Saturday. Master of Ceremonies will be Choogie Kingfisher; Arena Director Chuck Bread; Head Man Dancer Otto Hamilton; Head Lady Dancer Geneva Hamilton; Head Gourd Dancer Chris Chanate; and Color Guard will be the United Keetoowah Band Honor Guard.

For more information about the 40th Annual Symposium on the American Indian contact the Center for Tribal Studies at 918-444-4350 or tribalstudies@nsuok.edu. Vendor and sponsor information is available on the Syposium web page.

Published: 2/6/2012 3:16:02 PM

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