Native Peoples Colloquium brings culture to campus

Mary Macrae – Staff Writer

Sponsored by the department of English and the Graul Chair in Arts and Languages, the Native Peoples of America Colloquium will take place Sunday through Tuesday with various activities located on different parts of campus. These activities will consist of elements that relate to Native American culture and achievements, which are designed to engage and interact with participants in an entertaining and educational way.

This specific colloquium at Dayton was founded by communication lecturer Mary Anne Angel three years ago, and has since become an annual event. Through one of her oral histories projects for native elders in North and South Dakota, Angel was first exposed to Euro-Western American culture and history as told through the stories of Native Americans. When she returned from this project, she founded Circle of Light, a diversity and inclusion program.

“The Circle of Light organized and implemented the first Native Peoples event in 2001. The Native Peoples of the Americas Colloquium is now an annual fall event, with a planning committee and many sponsors and collaborators around campus. Co-chairs for this year are [English professor] Tom Morgan and [Director of Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion] Jack Ling,” Angel said.

According to Angel, all the days will have events that include workshops, discussions and speakers. In the workshops, participants have the chance to be exposed to traditional Native American arts, crafts and artisans, giving the participants the ability to see how particular items are made and constructed. Along with this exposure, students also receive the historical and cultural context behind these products and constructions.

The opportunity to participate in discussion from both Native and non-Native presenters in fields of both academic and non-academic backgrounds is also available. The focus and purpose of these discussions is to expose participants to information and perspectives that are not typically shown in the mainstream media and educational materials.

Lastly, participants are able to attend film screenings at ArtStreet throughout the semester and hear speakers discuss critical issues. They will gain an understanding of these tough and complex issues with the help of award-winning author Sherman Alexie Nov. 11. Participants are allowed to see and engage in a dialogue that helps expose issues and questions in a respectful and honest way, according to Angel.

This event is important in understanding the past, present and future lives of Native Americans, Ling said.

“The colloquium at Dayton allows for a forum to understand the culture and background of Native Americans,” he said. “It brings a needed awareness to the campus. Native Americans are real people with real issues and should be appreciated for their part in history and our present way of life.”

To register and view a full list of events, visit udayton.edu/artssciences/graul_chair/rrw/events/1110_native_american_colloquium.php.