Symposium on the American Indian

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The 48th Annual Symposium on the American Indian
Visionaries of Indian Country
April 12-17, 2021
Northeastern State University
University Center, Tahlequah, OK


The 48th Annual Symposium on the American Indian will be held on April 12-17, 2021, centered on the theme, Visionaries of Indian Country . American Indians carry with them the knowledge, traditions, and language of their ancestors as they serve as leaders within their family, Tribe, and community. These visionaries are not just focused on the here and now, but are cognizant of how decisions made today will impact future generations. This concept of the 7th generation is a way of life for many Indigenous people, a method of integrating the past, present and future. The visionaries of Indian Country are vital to the preservation and sustainability of our languages, community, environment and sovereignty.

Keynote speakers include Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock), editor of Indian Country Today and Board Chair for Vision Maker Media; Adrienne Keene (Cherokee), Assistant Professor of American and Ethnic Studies at Brown University; and B. Kainoa Embernate, Founder of Hawaiian Language Worldwide and Kumu of H lau lelo.

Hosted By: NSU Center for Tribal Studies
All events are FREE and open to the public


Mark Trahant (Shoshone-Bannock) Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities

Trahant serves as editor of Indian Country Today, he is a member of Idaho s Shoshone-Bannock Tribe, and a former president of the Native American Journalists Association. Trahant has also served as a professor at the University of North Dakota, University of Alaska Anchorage, University of Idaho and the University of Colorado. He does a weekly audio commentary for Native Voice One. He is also chair of the board of directors for Vision Maker Media, an organization that works with Native producers to develop, produce and distribute educational telecommunications programs for all media including public television and public radio. In 2018, Trahant was honored with the 2018 Native American Journalists Association Richard LaCourse Award.

As an experienced editor and journalist, Mr. Trahant will deliver a keynote presentation focused on how the Native voice in literature and media will affect our future generations. Reflecting on the experiences in his career, he will address the strong need to enhance tribal sovereignty for the sustainability of our community and address the role of journalism in that process. Through this presentation, Mr. Trahant will enhance the voice of all audience members for the betterment of their communities.

Adrienne Keene (Cherokee) Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities Council

Dr. Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) is a Native scholar, writer, and blogger and is passionate about reframing how the world sees contemporary Native cultures. She is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University. Her research areas include college access, transition, and persistence for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Students, including the role of pre-college access programs in student success. She is the creator and author of Native Appropriations, a blog discussing cultural appropriation and stereotypes of Native peoples in fashion, film, music, and other forms of pop culture. Through her writing, Keene discusses the ways Indigenous peoples are represented. She is very interested in the way Native peoples are using social and new media to challenge misrepresentations and present counter-narratives that showcase true Native cultures and identities. Her blog work has been nominated for the Women s Media Center Social Media Award (2011), as well as featured in many mainstream media outlets.

Dr. Adrienne Keene will discuss her efforts to address cultural appropriation in mainstream society and media. Through her works in literature and blogging, she is able to reference her experiences in dismantling stereotypes and help her readers understand the importance of accurate, respectful and appropriate representation of Indigenous peoples in mainstream media. As a positive representation herself, Dr. Adrienne Keene will empower audience members to stimulate change and appropriate image.

B. Kainoa Embernate ( iwi Hawai i)Hawai i) Sponsored by Oklahoma Humanities Council

Kainoa Embernate is an iwi Hawai i born in Hilo and raised along the H m kua coast of Hawai i Island. He acknowledges his k puna whose genealogical ties are in Kohala, Portugal, Mexico, Japan and the Philippines. Raised in a multi-ethnic pastoralist/agriculturalist community, Kainoa did not lelo Hawai i as a first language. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Studies, a Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education certification, and a Master of Arts in Indigenous Language and Culture Education from Ka Haka Ula o Ke elik lani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawai i at Hilo. He taught for the Aha P nana Leo non-profit organization, Ke Kula o N wah okalani pu u Hawaiian medium laboratory school, and lectured at his alma mater. Kainoa is currently a Ph.D. student in Instructional Design for Online Learning at Capella University. As an independent scholar-practitioner, he aims to disrupt negative ideologies that endanger lelo Hawai i. As a current guest resident on Lenapehoking territory of the Indigenous Lenape people, Kainoa dedicates his time and energy developing Indigenous Hawaiian scholarly work and practical applications. On September 12, 2016, Kainoa founded H lau lelo, an online learning school for the Hawaiian Language. This school serves as a platform for modern and mobile use and revitalization of the language, while connecting users to the past, present, and future wherever they go.

Mr. Embernate will focus on the revitalization of Native languages, specifically the Hawaiian Language. Hawaiian Language efforts are often referred to in discussing other successes of language revitalization. He will discuss the essence of moving forward through modern learning styles, such as online learning platforms, while remembering to honor the roots of the language through everyday use. Mr. Embernate will allow audience members to model modern revitalization of their Native languages to seek resources that can allow them to sustain existing efforts in amongst their tribes.