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March 30, 2001

Story-telling, powwow highlight symposium

by Anne Krapfl
Iowa State's American Indian Symposium celebrates its 30th year this spring. Symposium events start Wednesday, April 4, and run through Saturday, April 7. All events are free; the public is invited.

A story-telling and singing performance, several lectures, a Saturday morning family program and the traditional Saturday powwow highlight this year's celebration.

The symposium actually opened March 10 with an art exhibit of original native work in the Memorial Union Gallery. The exhibit, which continues through April 8, also includes posters from the first 29 years of the symposium on campus.

Ada Deer, member of the Menominee Nation (Wisconsin) and first woman to serve as assistant secretary for Indian affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, will give the Richard Thompson memorial lecture at 8 p.m. Friday, April 6, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. Deer is a University of Wisconsin, Madison, distinguished lecturer. Her talk is titled, "Indigenous Peoples: Bringing Traditions into the Next Seven Generations," which also is the symposium theme this year.

"Seven generations is more than a hundred years, so it's taking a longer vision of what the future is," said Lynn Paxson, ISU architecture and co-chair of the symposium planning committee. "Native American culture in this area is concerned about looking way into the future, not just worrying about the bottom line next month."

Jack Gladstone, member of the Blackfeet Nation (Montana) and a songwriter, storyteller and singer, will give a performance at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, in the Memorial Union M-Shop. A former Rose Bowl champion with the University of Washington, he has studied American Indian traditions and history. He has released five musical CDs.

Gladstone also will perform at a Saturday morning program, and there will be hands-on arts and crafts, and various activities in second-floor rooms of the Memorial Union.

A powwow will be held from 1 p.m. until about 10 p.m. Saturday, April 6, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Grand entries are scheduled for 1 and 7 p.m., with no dancers scheduled during the 5 to 7 p.m. slot.

"This is a come-and-go kind of event, so we encourage people to stop by anytime they want during the day," Paxson said.

Laura Tohé, a member of the Navajo Nation, English faculty member at Arizona State and writer and poet, will talk about "recovering" from her experiences at an American Indian boarding school at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. Tohé writes essays, children's plays and stories and is working on a book of poetry and a research project to develop a course on Navajo literature and cultural studies.

Symposium on the American Indian
"Indigenous America - Poised at the Threshold of the Next Seven Generations"
Memorial Union, free
April 4-7, 4-6338

  • Exhibit, "Indigenous Expressions/Impressions - Creating Art," March 10-April 8, Gallery.
Wednesday, April 4
  • 8 p.m., Performance, "Weaving the Future from the Past: Threads of History through Oral Tradition and Song," Jack Gladstone, songwriter, and storyteller, Blackfeet Nation, Maintenance Shop.
Thursday, April 5
  • 8 p.m., Lecture, "Recovering from Captivity: Speaking with Thunder Words, Dressed in the Language of Mountains," Laura Tohé, poet and writer, Arizona State University, Tempe, Navajo Nation, reception follows, Sun Room.
Friday, April 6
  • 3-5 p.m., Open house reception, Gallery.
  • 8 p.m., Lecture, Richard Thompson Memorial, "Indigenous Peoples: Bringing Traditions into the Next Seven Generations," Ada Deer, University of Wisconsin, Madison, reception follows, Sun Room.
Saturday, April 7
  • 9-11 a.m., Family program, storytelling, hands-on arts and crafts and activities for people of all ages, Gallery/Great Hall.
  • 1-10 p.m., Powwow, Native American dancers and drum groups, grand entries at 1 and 7 p.m. (no dancing from 5-7 p.m.), Great Hall.

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