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K-State Today

October 5, 2020

KSUnite plenary sessions will feature two nationally known speakers

Submitted by Stefan Yates

Bunky Echo-Hawk, left, and Clint Smith will present at KSUnite.

As part of KSUnite: Difference Makes Us Stronger on Tuesday, Oct. 13, the KSUnite planning committee has arranged for presentations from two nationally known speakers: Bunky Echo-Hawk and Clint Smith.

The first plenary session will begin at noon with an interactive live art presentation by proactive artist Bunky Echo-Hawk as he creates an original piece for the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center. Bunky Echo-Hawk’s approach to interactive live art is really a modernization of traditional art forms, cultivated by numerous tribes.

In Pawnee culture, people would gather in an earth lodge, usually during winter months, with an artist serving as the host and entertainer. The artist would have a stretched hide and paints ready, and after speaking to the crowd, would engage in dialogue with the audience. In consensus, the audience would determine a significant event that took place the previous year, and through group conversation about the event, the artist would gain and capture an accurate illustration of that event. It was one of the ways we recorded our oral history.

The second plenary session will begin at 1 p.m. and feature Clint Smith, an author, poet and activist. Smith will be discussing institutional racism in his talk “History Reconsidered.” The U.S. is a country of great opportunity, but we must wrestle with how certain opportunities are contingent on different facets of one’s identity.

The U.S. has provided economic mobility for millions of people, but we must wrestle with the history of violence and exploitation that helped to generate its economic foundation. The U.S. has freed millions around the world from despots and genocide, and we must wrestle with this same country’s pervasive history of barbarous imperialism. These are all parts of what make this country what it is. In this talk, combining poetry and history, Smith pushes the audience to wrestle with the complicated truths about the country we live in and helps crystalize how this history has shaped the contemporary social, political and cultural landscape of our world today.

For more information regarding KSUnite, including a detailed schedule, speaker biographies and FAQ, visit the KSUnite website.

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