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‘Legacy: 1909-2009’ Theme For 37th Annual Symposium on the American Indian

Actor, musician and Cherokee Speaker, Wes Studi

Actor, musician and Cherokee Speaker Wes Studi returns to NSU for the 37th Annual Symposium on the American Indian on April 13-18.

TAHLEQUAH – Celebrating 100 years of higher education, Northeastern State University will host “Legacy: 1909-2009,” the 37th Annual Symposium on the American Indian, on April 13-18.

“Following a century of Cherokee Nation education, NSU was founded on the established site of the pre-statehood Cherokee National Female Seminary and today continues to serve a significant American Indian student population,” said Dr. Phyllis Fife, director of the NSU Center for Tribal Studies. “Many of the speakers at the 37th Annual Symposium on the American Indian are NSU alumni returning to their alma mater to deliver keynote addresses and presentations that reflect the scholarship of our institution and share with us their diverse perspectives and experiences.”

Featured speakers include actor, musician and Cherokee Speaker Wes Studi, University of Oklahoma Law School Senior Scholar-in-Resident Dr. Rennard Strickland, Haskell Indian Nations University President Dr. Lina Sue Warner, University of Kansas Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics Akira Yamamoto and University of California Professor of Linguisitics Dr. Marianne Mithun.

Other distinguished guests include former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller, filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, language specialist Dr. Wallace Chafe, Grammy-winner Joanne Shenandoah, poet Darcy Medicine Horse, writer Dr. Stacy Pratt, Jack C. Montgomery Veteran’s Administration Medical Center American Indian Program Coordinator Kellen C. Eco Hopiye Palmer, University of Arizona Professor of Native American Studies Dr. Tom Holm, University of Oklahoma’s Dr. Jerry Bread, United Keetoowah Band Principal Chief George Wickliffe, Gaye Leia King of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education, Telecommunications Support for Alcatel-Lucent John Callaway, and LEAD Agency Executive Director Rebecca Jim.

NSU faculty will also present on a wide variety of topics, from vision care to American Indian influence on jazz, hearing problems to language revitalization efforts.

The 2009 American Indian Symposium Film Series will feature the screening of “The Trail of Tears,” a segment of the five-part “We Shall Remain,” from the PBS documentary series American Experience, a screening of Studi’s new feature film “The Only Good Indian,” a preview of Harjo’s latest work, and a screening and discussion of a selection of contemporary films written, produced or directed by American Indian filmmakers.

The NSU American Indian Alumni Association will host the Traditional Clothing Style Show Luncheon on Friday, April 17 from noon to 2 p.m. in the University Center Sen. Herb Rozell Ballroom. Tickets for the event are $30 and may be purchased by calling (918) 458-2143. The 2009 Distinguished Native American Alumni Award Winner will be announced during the luncheon.

Other events planned during the symposium include a filmmaking workshop, presentations from students in NSU’s Cherokee Language Degree Program, a stickball exhibition game, hearing screenings, a demonstration of Native American hand game, cornstalk shoot, an Indian marbles exhibition game, Native American studies, the third annual Cherokee Language Forum, Native Language Revitalization Seminar, and panel discussions on legal issues, American Indian literature, Indian Education and Cherokee education.

The symposium will conclude with the Annual NSU Alumni Powwow, scheduled for Friday, April 17 from 5-10 p.m. and Saturday, April 18 from 7 p.m. to midnight at Doc Wadley Stadium. Oklahoma State Rep. Lisa Johnson Billy, NSU alumna, will be honored Saturday night.

All events in the 37th Annual Symposium on the American Indian are free and open to the public, except the Traditional Clothing Style Show Luncheon and Songs of the Spirit concert with Joanne Shenandoah, which require tickets, and the Second Annual Oklahoma Workshop on North American Languages. For more information on the 37th Annual Symposium on the American Indian or for a complete schedule of events, visit


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