WSU Vancouver to Host Tribal Representatives in “Recognition: A Conversation” Series
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University Vancouver will host “Recognition: A Conversation” March 5 – 7 in the Dengerink Administration building, room 110 and March 8 in the Firstenburg Student Commons. The series will bring tribal representatives and scholars to campus to discuss what federal recognition means to their people. The series is free and open to the public.
The first three nights of the series will each begin with a featured tribal representative telling their story about what recognition has meant to their tribe. Representatives include Johnson Meninick, Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation; Mike Iyall, Cowlitz Indian Tribe; and Gary Johnson, Chinook Indian Nation.
After the representatives have spoken, the event will shift to a meal and small group breakout sessions. Student volunteers from WSU Vancouver and Portland State University will lead the sessions, allowing audience members to enter into open discussions about issues concerning recognition.
Steven Fountain, assistant professor of history at WSU Vancouver, emphasizes the integral nature of the meal and discussion.
“This kind of civil, face-to-face discussion is the core of the event. People who might not otherwise meet will get the opportunity to share each other's questions, concerns and reactions in a way that rarely happens at official events,” said Fountain.
After the meal, the group will reconvene for a question and answer segment and a summary from the guest scholars Andrew W. Fisher, College of William & Mary, and Robert J. Miller, Lewis & Clark Law School. Fisher is the author of “Shadow Tribe: The Making of Columbia River Indian Identity” and is a former fellow of the Center for Columbia River History. Miller, an Eastern Shawnee, is the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals of the Grand Ronde Tribe and speaks regularly on Indian law issues across the United States and in other countries.
The final night of the series will culminate in a showing of the 2008 short documentary film “American Outrage.” The film follows the fight of two Western Shoshone women who challenged the U.S. government for land rights, eventually taking their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Following the film, audience members will be invited to eat pizza and join in discussion.
6:30 p.m. March 5
“Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation” – Johnson Meninick
The people of the Yakama Indian Nation were officially recognized by the U.S. government as a tribe in the Treaty of 1855. Meninick is Manager of the Yakama Cultural Resources Program.
6:30 p.m. March 6
“Cowlitz Indian Tribe” – Mike Iyall
The Cowlitz Indian Tribe was officially recognized by the U.S. government in 2000. Iyall has worked on recognition issues for his tribe and others since 1974.
6:30 p.m. March 7
“Chinook Indian Nation” – Gary Johnson
The Chinook Indian Nation is currently seeking recognition by the U.S. government. Johnson was Tribal Chairman during the Chinook Tribe's brief period of federal recognition in 2001 – 2002
7 p.m. March 8
The series has been made possible through a collaborative, community effort and partners include: the Chinook Indian Nation, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Indian Nation, Portland State University, the Associated Students of Washington State University Vancouver, the WSU Vancouver History Department, the WSU Vancouver History Club and a Humanities Washington Spark Grant.
WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205 and is accessible via C-Tran bus service. Parking for the event is free.
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Steven Fountain, College of Arts and Sciences, 360-546-9738, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601, email@example.com