1. Kansas State University
  2. »Division of Communications and Marketing
  3. »K-State Today
  4. »Indigenous Peoples Day, live art exhibition and US poet laureate

K-State Today

October 8, 2020

Indigenous Peoples Day, live art exhibition and US poet laureate

Submitted by Alex Red Corn

The 2020 Indigenous Peoples Day promises a powerful lineup of speakers, including Tulalip scholar Stephanie Fryberg, who is one of the nation's leading researchers on the psychological and social effects of American Indian mascots, branding and imagery. Fryberg will present her keynote address, "Reclaiming Native Truths: How Stereotypes and Invisibility Shape Native Mascot Use and Other Biases Toward Native Peoples," at 12:30 p.m. CDT, Monday, Oct. 12.

Free, online and open to the public, Indigenous Peoples Day runs from 9:10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 12. A Kansas Association for Native American Education business meeting will follow at 2 p.m. All presentation links can be accessed via the homepage of the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance

Fryberg is preceded by noted Chickasaw anthropologist Jenny L. Davis, who presents on the intersections of language and sexuality at 9:30 a.m. CDT, and joined, as well, at 10:30 a.m. CDT by Cherokee scholar Kathy DeerInWater, chief program officer of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society at the Oklahoma Remote Office, who will participate in a panel discussion about COVID's impact on Indian Country, particularly related to the Digital Divide.

Alex Red Corn, assistant professor of educational leadership, co-chair of the Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance, and member of the Osage Nation of Oklahoma, notes that this event continues to grow and has been instrumental in bringing greater visibility to the perspectives of Indigenous people on K-State's campus. 

"We have a powerful line up of Indigenous leaders, scholars, and practitioners to bring important conversations about Indigeneity to our campus and beyond," Red Corn said. 

This event is organized under the leadership of the K-State Indigenous Faculty and Staff Alliance, which was recently nationally recognized as a 2020 Inspired Affinity Group Award by Insight into Diversity magazine. Support for this event comes from the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies at K-State Libraries, among others.

Beyond the Indigenous Peoples Day event, over an eight-day period, K-State will host two other high-profile Indigenous speakers: Yakama and Pawnee artist Bunky Echo-Hawk will do a live painting as part of the KSUnite programming on Tuesday, Oct. 13, from noon to 12:50 p.m. and beyond; and Muscogee (Creek) U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will perform on Tuesday, Oct. 20, from 5-6 p.m. CDT.

On Oct. 13, Echo-Hawk will do an interactive live art session that begins at noon to 12:50 p.m. and continues throughout the day as part of KSUnite activities, in which he will create a piece for the Morris Family Multicultural Student Center with audience input. Echo-Hawk is an internationally known visual artist whose work is featured in gallery and museum exhibitions throughout the U.S. and worldwide. This event was organized with the leadership of the Native American Student Body, with support from the Student Governing Association.

On Oct. 20, U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will do a virtual performance from 5-6 p.m. CDT. Harjo, from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, is the first American Indian poet laureate and is one of Indian Country's most celebrated creative leaders as a poet, musician, playwright and author. Harjo appears thanks to the Student Association of Graduates in English, with support from the K-State Student Governing Association, the Department of English, the Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies at K-State, and the Beach Museum of Art.

Overall, this line up of events over an eight-day period represents one of the most exciting moments for Indigenous visibility at K-State in recent memory.