TAHLEQUAH – When retired Physicist Jerry (High Eagle) Elliott was a child, he used to stare up at the skies over his Oklahoma home and dream of exploring the stars. His nearly four decade career at NASA allowed him to realize that dream, and is chronicled in a new documentary, “Houston, We Have a Solution,” by first-time filmmaker and Northeastern State University graduate Sara Barnett-Flores.
The documentary will be presented on Wednesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. in the NET Auditorium at the 2008 American Indian Symposium Film Series, part of the 36th Annual Symposium on the American Indian at NSU. Barnett-Flores, Muscogee (Creek), and her mentor, Elliott, will host a discussion following the screening of the documentary. The presentation is sponsored by the Oklahoma Humanities Council.
The documentary presents the personal reflections of Elliott, an Osage/Cherokee physicist, and highlights his many outstanding contributions to science and humanity. In his career with NASA, Elliott worked on the ground with a team of scientists to save the astronauts on Apollo 13 and worked with a team to design the International Space Station and launch it into orbit.
Elliott was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon for his duties as a Retrofire Officer during the Apollo 13 accident, and the safe return of the Apollo astronauts. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian honor in the United States.
“The Sun the Moon the Stars, Rhythms of Life,” the 36th Annual Symposium on the American Indian is set for April 16-19, 2008 at NSU at the University Center.
Additional speakers include Oklahoma Centennial Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner N. Scott Momaday, retired commander of the U.S. Navy and former NASA astronaut John Herrington, Kiowa traditionalist Kelly Anquoe, documentary filmmaker Sara Barnett-Flores, Navajo cultural consultant Dr. David Begay, Coordinator for the Pawnee Earth Lodge exhibit at the Field Museum of Chicago Mary Ann Bloom, award winning novelist and poet Robert Conley, Sioux traditionalist Warren Hawk, Assistant Site Manager and Public Relations Director for the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site William Iseminger, Founder and President of the Indigenous Education Institute Dr. Nancy Maryboy, Director of Indians into Psychology at the University of North Dakota Justin D. (Doug) McDonald, and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of Kansas Dr. Akira Yamamoto.
For more information on the 36th annual Symposium on the American Indian, call the NSU Center for Tribal Studies at 918-444-4350. For a full schedule of events, visit www.cts.nsuok.edu/symposium/index.htm.