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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Indigenous Scholars Series’ first speaker returns

The Vine Deloria Jr. Distinguished Indigenous Scholars Series will come full circle this Thursday as the event’s first lecturer, from half a decade ago, returns to speak on issues affecting American Indians.

Suzan Harjo, a poet, writer, lecturer, curator and advocate, will headline the third of a four-part series held by American Indian Studies this semester, which commemorates Vine Deloria Jr., a late
UA professor honored for helping to establish the UA AIS program in 1982.

The event, which will take place at 6 p.m. in the Center for Creative Photography, has seen a positive response and a good turnout for its previous lectures, according to event coordinators. The lectures are free and open to the public.

The series, titled “Unfinished Agendas: Indigenous Peoples in the 21st Century,” aims to spotlight issues affecting indigenous peoples around the world.

“I think the University of Arizona is in the middle of Indian country and I think it’s quite important that the University of Arizona holds these events,” said Manley Begay, an AIS associate social scientist.

The series was established in fall of 2008 in honor of Deloria’s work for both the UA and AIS prior to his passing in 2005. Begay said he is interested in hearing Harjo’s insight into the issues affecting American Indians and her stories about the man the series gained its name from.

“I think what the speaker series in general, and especially Dr. Harjo, encompasses is the evaluation and the deconstruction of the stereotype of what American Indians are in the popular consciousness,” said Gavin Healey, an AIS doctoral student and coordinator for the event.

Thursday’s lecture, The View from Lincoln’s Head, will address Harjo’s experiences with federal government and how federal policies have marginalized American Indians, Healey said.

Harjo’s experience with government includes serving as a congressional liaison for Indian Affairs under President Jimmy Carter, in addition to later becoming executive director for the National
Congress of American Indians and founding the Morning Star Institute in 1984.

As the institute, a nonprofit that advocates and promotes Native American work, nears its third decade, the AIS program at the UA is currently celebrating its own milestone.

“This is our 30-year anniversary of the program,” said Ronald Trosper, head of the AIS program, “so it’s really appropriate that we honor Vine [Deloria Jr.] at this time.”

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