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Indigenous Women: NPAC 2017

The University of Dayton's Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium is an annual two-day forum focused on Native American culture and history. For more than 15 years the University has hosted speakers, performances and workshops to highlight Native American traditions and customs and to give voice to indigenous issues, perspectives and experiences.

The event, Oct. 30-31 in the Kennedy Union ballroom, is free and open to the public. Registration is required for luncheons and the “Seneca No Face Doll” workshop.

Mary Anne Angel, retired University of Dayton communication professor, created the colloquium in 2000 through her organization, Circle of Light.

This year’s theme is Indigenous Women: Voices of Resilience and Reckoning. Deborah Miranda, an award-winning Native American writer and poet, is the keynote speaker. LeAnne Howe, Phyllis Young, and Sarah Deer are also scheduled speakers.

After a ceremonial blessing on Monday morning, Howe — an internationally acclaimed author and professor at the University of Georgia — will share excerpts from her new book, Savage Conversations. She also will discuss an upcoming international collaboration with Irish poets.

Young is a Lakota activist and co-founder of Women of All Red Nations (WARN). She has spoken out against the Dakota Access Pipeline and joined NPAC last year for a discussion on the Standing Rock Reservation protests. University students and volunteers who made a spring trip to Standing Rock will share their experiences through multimedia and firsthand accounts and will be joined by Young.

“When most people think of human rights, they think international,” said Thomas Morgan, associate professor of English. “The events of Standing Rock and the Dakota Access Pipeline have made people more aware of these types of issues here.” Morgan lectures on 19th and 20th century American literature, with much of his teaching focused on Native American works. He co-chairs the event with Tereza Szeghi, associate professor of English.

Deer, a professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Muscogee citizen and recipient of the 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, will discuss sexual violence against Native American women and children and potential solutions to the issue.

“This University is an institution that was founded on the tenets of social justice,” said Shannon Toll, an associate professor of English. “I believe NPAC supports this project by creating a space for students to meaningfully engage with Native American culture and discuss complex issues that face indigenous communities in North America.”

Toll, whose academic background is in Native American literature, will present a public service announcement with University diversity peer educators on Tuesday, Oct. 31, on cultural misappropriations in Halloween costumes.

Along with the presentations, Native American drummers will perform traditional songs and dances on Monday, Oct. 30. There is also an interactive workshop to create a traditional “Seneca No Face Doll” on Tuesday, Oct. 31.

“Learning how to hear people on their terms rather than your terms is always hard,” Morgan said. “But if students are looking for ways to push how they see their world, this is a fantastic place to do it.”

For a complete schedule please visit the conference website.

- Will Van Winkle ’18

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