Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium

    A Campus Cultural Connections Event

    This annual colloquium aims to address issues of spirituality and traditions of Native Americans with lectures, performances and multi-media presentations. Sessions will be held November 9 - 10 and a presentation by Sherman Alexie will take place on Tuesday, November 11. In conjunction with the colloquium, related films will be presented throughout the Fall Term. 

    Location: Various campus locations, see link to map at left

    Sponsor: Department of English; Graul Chair in Arts and Languages

 Thomas Morgan

    Phone number: 937-229-3456

    Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium on YouTube

    Learn more in this YouTube video >>

    Sessions & Activities:

    Sunday, November 9 Sessions

    Leon BriggsAn Introduction to the Native Art of Drum-Making 

    Time: 2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Location: Art Street, Studio D

    Fee: $25 for materials.

    Registration required: RSVP with Mary Anne Angel at or 937-229-2548 by October 24. Limited to first 20 applicants.

    Leon Briggs from the Tonawanda Seneca Reservation will demonstrate the traditional art of drum-making and will also describe the meaning and use of the drum within the context of Seneca history and culture. Participants will construct personal drums of rawhide and birch veneer hoops to take home.

    Monday, November 10 Sessions

    Music and story-telling will be provided between sessions throughout the day in Torch Lounge, located on the first floor of Kennedy Union.

    Native Blessing Ceremony

    Time: 9:00 am

    Location: Central Mall (Torch Lounge if there is rain at this time)

    This will be a four directions ceremony to purify the spaces in and around us, offer gratitude, and ask that goodness comes from all we do.

    The Trouble with Mascots

    Time: 10:00 am – 11:30 am

    Location: Torch Lounge, located on the first floor of Kennedy Union

    Moderated by Mary Anne Angel, Department of Communication, this panel will be co-presented by Robert Roche (Chiricahua Apache; Director of the American Indian Education Center of Cleveland) and Sam Morris (Clinical Professor of Sport Leadership and Management at Miami University). Mr. Roche will introduce the topic of Native mascots, followed by a discussion of the controversial lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians initiated by his group "People, Not Mascots." Dr. Morris will argue that Native mascots are morally wrong and should be challenged but do not warrant state intervention, because of 1st Amendment rights. As part of his presentation, Dr. Morris will discuss the history of the name-change at Miami University from Redskins to Redhawks.

    Robert RocheAbout Robert Roche

    Robert Roche is an American Indian with a successful and diverse career in teaching Native American History and Contemporary Issues. He has an outstanding ability to bring clarity to Native American education, culture and history. His study of history encompasses not only post-Columbus but also pre-Columbus providing an insight into the true Native American culture. Robert's personal involvement includes countless projects and undertakings designed to further the goals and welfare of the Native American community provides real life exposure to the many issues faced by the Native American community. He has created and teaches a holistic American Indian Study curriculum.

    View his profile (pdf) >>

    Explorations of Contemporary American Indian Identity in Sherman Alexie’s Flight: A Luncheon Discussion

    Time: 12:00 – 1:30 pm

    Location: The Ballroom, located on the second floor of Kennedy Union

    Moderated by Tereza Szeghi, Department of English, this conversation will focus on such themes as: the nature of time travel and flight in the novel, how each of the bodies Zits inhabits contributes to Zits’ identity formation, intergenerational trauma, and cross-cultural identity.

    Please RSVP with Tereza Szeghi at by October 31.

    A Cowboy and Indian Alliance: Human Rights and Sustainable Development

    Time: 2:00 – 3:30 pm

    Location: The Ballroom, located on the second floor of Kennedy Union

    Moderated by Mary Anne Angel, Department of Communication. Alpha Phi Omega and Circle of Light volunteers helped raise awareness about hydraulic fracking and mining during their 2014 trip to Standing Rock Reservation. After an overview of the trip by volunteers, Phyllis Young will discuss the connection between energy production and human rights and sustainable development.  Water will be a key theme.

    Phyllis Young is a life-long Lakota activist and Standing Rock Reservation Tribal Council Member. She co-founded Women of All Rd Nations (WARN) in the 1970s, which addresses issues pertaining to American Indian women and their families.

    Chadwick AllenTonto Goes to the Movies

    Time: 4:30 – 6:00 pm

    Location: The Ballroom, located on the second floor of Kennedy Union

    The 2013 release of Disney’s film version of The Lone Ranger, starring Johnny Depp as the Indian Tonto, revived old debates about the stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans in the western genre.  Chadwick Allen places the new film in the context of 80 years of Lone Ranger production in order to assess just how much Tonto has - and has not - changed across the 20th and 21st centuries, and to ask just what Tonto’s portrayals might tell us about dominant US culture’s sense of its history and values.

    Chadwick Allen is Professor of English and Associate Dean in Arts and Humanities at The Ohio State University. The author of books and articles on Native American and comparative Indigenous literary studies, he has a strong secondary interest in the popular western and has written extensively on the aesthetics and politics of The Lone Ranger-Tonto pairing.

    Community Drumathon

    Time: 7:30 – 9:30 pm

    Location: KU Ballroom 

    Hosted by the Chaske Hotain Lakota Drum, and featuring other local community drum groups. NPAC 2014 will wrap up with this event and a Closing Song and Prayer ceremony.

    Sherman Alexie

    Date: Tuesday, November 11

    Time: 7:00 – 8:00 pm

    Location: The Ballroom, located on the second floor of Kennedy Union

    Award-winning poet, short story writer, novelist and performer Sherman Alexie is a Spokane/Coeur d'Alene Indian. He was raised in Wellpinit, WA on the Spokane Indian Reservation. In addition to an extensive body of published work, Alexie is the writer and co-producer of the 1998 film Smoke Signals.

    Learn more about Sherman Alexie (www) >>

    Film Series

    The Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium presents four films during the Fall 2014 Term that explore social and economic aspects of modern Native American culture:

    Reel Injun

    Date: September 26, 2014

    Time: 8:00 pm

    Location: ArtStreet Studio B, located on the 300 block of Kiefaber Street

    Reel Injun (2009) is a Canadian documentary film directed by Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge, and Jeremiah Hayes that explores the portrayal of Native Americans in film. The film is illustrated with excerpts from classic and contemporary portrayals of Native people in Hollywood movies and interviews with filmmakers, actors and film historians, while director Diamond travels across the United States to visit iconic locations in motion picture as well as American Indian history.

    Smoke Signals

    Date: October 24, 2014

    Time: 8:00 pm

    Location: ArtStreet Studio B, located on the 300 block of Kiefaber Street

    Smoke Signals (1998) is an independent film directed and co-produced by Chris Eyre and with a screenplay by Sherman Alexie, based on the short story "This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona" from his book Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. The film won several awards and accolades, and was well received at numerous film festivals.

    The Business of Fancydancing

    Date: November 7, 2014

    Time: 8:00 pm

    Location: ArtStreet Studio B, located on the 300 block of Kiefaber Street

    The Business of Fancydancing (2002) was written and directed by Sherman Alexie. The film explores the tension between two Spokane men who grew up together on the Spokane Reservation in eastern Washington state. Internal conflict between the main character's Indian heritage and his life as an urban gay man with a white boyfriend plays out in multiple cultures and relationships over his college and early adult years. His literary success as a famed American Indian poet, resulting in accolades from non-Indians, contrasts with a lack of approval from those he grew up with on the reservation.


    Date: December 5, 2014

    Time: 8:00 pm

    Location: ArtStreet Studio B, located on the 300 block of Kiefaber Street

    Skins (2002) is a feature film by Chris Eyre based upon the novel of the same name by Adrian C. Louis. The film is set on the fictional Beaver Creek Indian Reservation in South Dakota near the Nebraska border, a place very much like the actual Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Lakota Sioux tribal police officer Rudy Yellow Lodge struggles to rescue his older, alcoholic brother, Mogie, a former football star who was wounded in combat three times in Vietnam.

    Other Activities

    The following discussions will explore Sherman Alexie's novel Flight:

    October 16 Discussion Session

    Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm

    Location: Jesse Phillips Humanities Center, Room 257

    RSVP: Thomas Morgan at

    Moderated by Tom Morgan, Department of English.

    October 30 Discussion Session

    Time: 12:00 - 1:00 pm

    Location: Office of Multicultural Affairs, Alumni Hall 101

    RSVP: Scott West at

    Moderated by Scott West, University Libraries.

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