Northeastern State University’s annual Symposium on the American Indian has gone virtual this year – and now people across the country can take part in the conversation.
The very first NSU Symposium on the American Indian was in 1972 and it was just one day long. Over the years, it has grown into a weeklong event full of discussions and speakers, open to everyone.
"I was a student at Northeastern State University from 2001-2006 and was a student worker for Tribal Studies then, so now to be able to come back for five years now as the director- it has a special meaning for me, getting to be involved in so many of these events," said Director of Tribal Studies and event organizer Sarah Barnett.
Barnett believes this event has the power to help overcome the stereotypes some people have of indigenous people. She believes these conversations can empower, educate, inspire, and create a better future.
"They can gain a better understanding of what tribal sovereignty is, who we are as indigenous people, as native, sovereign nations that are located here in Oklahoma," said Barnett.
The theme this year is Visionaries of Indian Country. Each speaker shares indigenous perspectives on all kinds of topics, including ways “native voices in literature and media will affect our future generations,” as well as “reclaiming indigenous representations.”
Other conversations include “ways to address cultural appropriation” and “trauma and healing.” Speakers will also discuss ways they are impacting their communities and families and pushing through challenges.
"I think it is a matter of diversity and understanding one another, and as a country, that is what we should be focused on,” said Barnett. “Gaining that deeper understanding of who we are, where do we come from, what are our values and belief systems and learning from one another.”
To join the conversation on April 12-17, click here.