News Release| Native American Heritage Month; Cal State L.A.

October 24, 2011

Native American Heritage Month workshops and panels at Cal State L.A. to celebrate tribal culture, showcase societal struggles and progress

Los Angeles, CA — In celebration of Native American Heritage Month in November, Cal State L.A.’s (CSULA) Cross Cultural Centers (CCC), American Indians of the community, and CSULA alumni will present a series of events that celebrate and discuss tribal culture, while showcasing the societal struggles Native Americans have faced and the progress they have made.

Presented in collaboration with the University’s Chicana/o Latina/o Student Resource Center of the CCC, the events bring together Native American alumni from CSULA, USC, UCLA, the University of Oklahoma and CSU Long Beach. The panels and workshops were developed to present a candid representation of Native Americans, while exploring stereotypes, tribal history, and their culture in contemporary society.

  •          The celebration will begin Tuesday, Nov. 1, from noon to 1:30 p.m., at CSULA in the University-Student Union Plaza with the “Blessing of the University” by Julia Bogany of the Tongva/Gabrielino tribe. The blessing will be followed by traditional dancing and storytelling by Ben Hale (Navajo) and the Eagle Spirit Dancers. The Hale family presents authentic North American Indian culture through song, dance and storytelling from northwest, southwest, and the Great Plains tribes of North America.
  •          The first workshop, American Indian & Black Relations,” will be presented on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 6 p.m. in the University-Student Union Theatre by CSULA alumnus Jason Reed, a tribal member of the Cherokee Band of Oklahoma. African/Native American history is not widely recognized in academia. Reed will discuss his personal history with the Cherokee people, which is featured in the California African American Museum under the title, “IndiVisible: African-Native American Lives in the Americas,” and in the Smithsonian Institution.
  •          The panel, Upholding Two Identities,” which takes place Thursday, Nov. 10, at 3:15 p.m. in the University-Student Union’s Alhambra Room, will explore the intertwined dual cultures of Hispanic and Native Americans, their “proud honor” and cultural identities. The panel will feature Native Americans who come from both cultures: Monique Castro and Melissa Salvatore (Navajo); Dario Diaz (Acoma); and will be moderated by Willie Sandoval (Navajo/Winnebago/Menominee).
  •          The workshop, “History of Off-Reservation Boarding Schools,” takes place Monday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. in the University-Student Union Theatre. Presented by Roberta Whitlock-Baeta, Ph.D. (Salt River Pima/Maricopa), the workshop explores the history, policies and experiences of Native Americans who attended boarding schools. Whitlock-Baeta, a political science co-chair at USC for Native American Workshops, will present information from her published work. The event will be moderated by Robert Baker (Choctaw). 
  •          The final event is the panel, “Who are Ndnz in Contemporary American Society?,” which takes place Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. in the University-Student Union’s Los Angeles Room. The speakers will be a diverse group of Native Americans residing in the Southern California: Nellie LeGaspe (Oglala Sioux/Chiricahua Apache); Sunnie Whipple (Rosebud Sioux); Pamela Peters (Navajo); and Danielle Glenn-Rivera (Cherokee/Osage). Moderated by Karris Wilson (Quechan/Cocopah), the panel will discuss the past and present social structure of Native American society, and delve into how Native Americans are often viewed as non-existent, portrayed as mascots, and the cultural myths that marginalize them. The speakers will also address positive changes that are being made in contemporary society that counteract stereotypes and bigotry.

Cal State L.A. is located at 5151 State University Dr. in Los Angeles at the Eastern Avenue exit, San Bernardino (I-10) Freeway, at the interchange of 10 and 710 freeways. 

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 220,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six Colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students, opening in fall 2011. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.