facebook pixel

Keynote speakers to discuss wide range of topics at annual NSU Symposium on the American Indian

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma) — Speakers are expected to present on cultural appropriation, healing practices and more at Northeastern State University’s 48th annual Symposium on the American Indian next week.

Northeastern State University will virtually host the annual symposium from April 12 – 17. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s theme for the symposium is “Visionaries of Indian Country.”

Keynote speakers scheduled to present throughout the week include: Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock), editor of Indian Country Today and board chair for Vision Maker Media; Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee), assistant professor of American and Ethnic Studies at Brown University; Bryson Kainoa, founder of Hawaiian Language Worldwide and Kumu of Hālau ʻŌlelo; Dr. Tami DeCoteau (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara), Licensed Clinical Psychologist; and Dr. Darryl Tonemah (Kiowa/Comanche/Tuscarora), owner of Tonemah Consulting Group, First Nations Telehealth and president of The Native Legacy Foundation.

Speaker lineup

Tuesday, April 13

Trahant will give a presentation focused on how Native voices in literature and media will affect our future generations  from 3 to 3:50 p.m.

As part of his presentation titled “A Million Lines of Code: The Future of News and Jobs in Indian Country,” Trahant will use experiences from his career to address the need to enhance tribal sovereignty for the sustainability of the community and address the role of journalism in that process.

Trahant serves as the editor of Indian Country Today, he does a weekly audio commentary for Native Voice One and is also on the board of directors for Vision Maker Media. The former president of the Native American Journalists Association has also served as a professor at multiple universities. Trahant was honored with the 2018 Native American Journalists Association Richard LaCourse Award.

Wednesday, April 14

Patrons can tune in to Keene’s presentation — “The Strange Case of the Hipster Headdress: Reclaiming Indigenous Representations and Imaging Indigenous Futures” — from noon to 12:50 p.m.

Keene will discuss her efforts to address cultural appropriation in mainstream media and society. She is able to reference her experiences in dismantling stereotypes and help her audience understand the importance of accurate, respectful and appropriate representation.

Keene is a Native scholar, writer and blogger who studies college access, transitions and persistence for American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian Students. Through her writing, she discusses the ways Indigenous people are represented and is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures. She is the creator and author of Native Appropriations, a blog discussing cultural appropriations and stereotypes of Native peoples in fashion, film, music and other forms of pop culture.

Also taking place on April 14, DeCoteau will present “How Indigenous Practices Help Us Heal Ourselves and Our Communities from Trauma” virtually from 4 to 4:50 p.m.

DeCoteau will discuss the many advances in neuroscience of trauma treatment that validate Indigenous healing practices and promote their use as viable and useful techniques for healing trauma. Recent science shows how relationships, rhythmic movement, sound and indigenous traditions help to restore the person following a traumatic event.

DeCoteau has worked in a variety of outpatient settings and with a diverse patient population, including veterans and Native Americans. She’s received the American Psychological Foundation 2010 Early Career Award for providing culturally competent practice techniques for Native Americans and for developing training programs in rural, underserved areas. 

DeCoteau was appointed by a member of the U.S. congress to serve the Commission on Native Children to help address the challenges faced by Native children.

Thursday, April 15

From noon to 12:50 p.m., Kainoa will present “Indigenous Innovative Leadership” where he will explore the meaning of Indigenous innovative leadership in the context of Hawaiian language revitalization, online learning, community building and cooking.

Kainoa founded Hawaiian Language Worldwide, a 501©3 organization based in New York City. He leads a free virtual Hawaiian language school, whose mission is to foster Hawaiian language mastery among geographically dispersed Native Hawaiians, Hawaiian language speakers and learners to practice their Hawaiian language and cooking skills. Kainoa is a PhD candidate specializing in Instructional Design for Online Learning at Capella University.

Friday, April 16

Starting at noon, Tonemah will present “Trauma: From Dealing to Healing” where he will explore how trauma affects the brain, body and behavior and how we are entering a season of dealing to healing.

Tonemah has sat on numerous state and national boards addressing disparities in education and health care among the Native community. He has done extensive work in hospitals, clinics, universities, corporations and schools in the U.S. and Canada on trauma and its relationship to behavior and health.  

Tonemah has recorded 11 award-winning CDs, published research, published a book entitled “Spray Your Swamp Cooler” and has appeared in multiple films and stage productions.

Other events planned aside from keynotes and presentations include the Miss Native American NSU Pageant, a film discussion and virtual powwow. For a complete list of dates and times for all the events planned as part of the symposium visit the Symposium on the American Indian website at www.nsuok.edu/symposium