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The past, present and future all come together for American Indian culture at the 46th Annual Symposium that draws speakers and artists from all over the United States. By Lindsay Morris & Photos by Pete Henshaw For many Oklahomans, American Indian heritage is an important part of their history, but it doesn’t stop there. It’s important for indigenous people to stand together and be highlighted not just as a symbol of the past, but to be represented in the future as well. The past, present and future all come together for American Indian culture at the 46th Annual Symposium on the American Indian at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah April 16-21.

COMMUNITY MATTERS

This annual symposium draws speakers and artists from all over the United States who speak on a number of topics encompassing dialects, the arts, heritage and more. And the best part — it’s all free and requires no pre-registration. You may drop in to as many sessions that interest you. The theme of this year’s symposium is, “Walking with our Ancestors: Preserving Culture and Honoring Tradition.” Sara Barnett, director of the Center for Tribal Studies at NSU, says it’s paramount for American Indians to have a sense of pride in their heritage. “It’s important to be an ambassador to the general community and not be afraid to share our perspectives,” Barnett says. “There was a time 50 or 60 years ago when people were afraid to showcase the fact that they were American Indian. Now, they no longer have to separate their culture from their identity.” American Indians are sometimes left out of conversations about minority groups. However, the symposium is an opportunity for this group to come together and realize that although they may have been left out of some conversations in the past, they don’t have to be left out of the future, Barnett says. “Native Americans are still here preserving their culture and honoring traditions by incorporating knowledge of the past into present-day professional careers.” The symposium has a number of national speakers and performances lined up including: “Indigenerds Assemble! Native Americans in Popular Culture” presented by Lee Francis IV takes place April 18 at 9:30 a.m. “This is a clever play on words [indigenous and nerds],” Barnett says. “’keetweenci naanatawiteeheeyankwi?’: Why do we research? The Role of Tribally Directed Research and Development in Language and Cultural Revitalization” presented by Daryl Baldwin April 18 at 1 p.m. Baldwin has worked extensively with the Miami tribe on their language revitalization and has great insight on how language and Native American culture are intertwined.

58 APRIL 2018

Profile for Preview 918

April 2018 (Vol. 32, No. 4)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...

April 2018 (Vol. 32, No. 4)  

Where to Dine. What to Do. Where to Find It. When It's Happening. Preview 918 A regional magazine of national stature, Preview 918 has rema...