Monday, November 1, 2010

Native American Heritage Celebration

OMSA kicks off Native American Heritage Celebration with a panel discussion on the state of Native American Studies

November is Native American Heritage month and OMSA will host a panel discussing the state of Native American studies in the United States. Panelists will include:
  • Scott Stevens, Director, The D'Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Megan Bang, PhD, Director of Education, American Indian Center
  • Joseph Podlasek, Executive/Technical Director, American Indian Center
  • Scott Bear Don’t Walk, PhD Student, Committee On Social Thought, University of Chicago
  • Greg Nance, College, Political Science, University of Chicago—Moderator

Native American Heritage month started as a single day of recognition for the cultural and societal contributions of the first Americans. In May 1916, New York was the first state to designate an “American Indian Day” and it was first enacted in Illinois in 1919. The resolution that enacted Native American Heritage month was approved in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.

On October 29, President Barack Obama released a Presidential Proclamation in which he stated: 
America's journey has been marked both by bright times of progress and dark moments of injustice for American Indians and Alaska Natives. Since the birth of America, they have contributed immeasurably to our country and our heritage, distinguishing themselves as scholars, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders in all aspects of our society. Native Americans have also served in the United States Armed Forces with honor and distinction, defending the security of our Nation with their lives. Yet, our tribal communities face stark realities, including disproportionately high rates of poverty, unemployment, crime, and disease. These disparities are unacceptable, and we must acknowledge both our history and our current challenges if we are to ensure that all of our children have an equal opportunity to pursue the American dream. From upholding the tribal sovereignty recognized and reaffirmed in our Constitution and laws to strengthening our unique nation-to- nation relationship, my Administration stands firm in fulfilling our Nation's commitments. Native American cultural contributions are an indispensable part of American history and tradition and are embedded into the multicultural fabric of the country. Native American Heritage month celebrates and remembers the accomplishments of the Native American peoples. As President Obama noted, tribal communities faced, and continue to face, adversity and discrimination in American society. Stereotypical representations of the Native American community have been particularly degrading. Hollywood films are exemplary of this:


The OMSA discussion panel will be at 5710 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Room 107 (Community Lounge) on November 3rd at 5:30 PM. Join us in a lively and informative discussion of the significance of Native American history and studies.