Campus News

University will host Native American studies conference

A conference that will bring together scholars from around the globe who work in the field of Native American and indigenous studies will take place at UGA April 10-12.

The event-the largest of its kind ever held-is expected to draw more than 450 scholars and graduate students and will involve a number of UGA faculty members. It is entitled “Native American and Indigenous Studies 2008: Who Are We? Where Are We Going?”

The main purpose of the event is to share research and to form an academic association to support such scholarship. This is the second of three meetings that a steering committee of scholars from across the continent has planned. The first took place at the University of Oklahoma last May.

“The Institute of Native American Studies at UGA is happy to be hosting this meeting, and we are excited that the vote to establish the first broad-based scholarly association in the field will take place here,” said Jace Weaver, director of the INAS, professor of religion and adjunct professor of law. “This is historic. The third scheduled meeting will be at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2009, and we hope these three events will give the proposed association its best chance of becoming a reality.”

The keynote address for the conference will be delivered by noted Native American poet Simon Ortiz April 10 at 5 p.m. in Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Ortiz is a member of the Acoma Pueblo tribe and a major figure in the second wave of what has been called the Native American Renaissance. He is one of the most respected and widely read Native American poets.

The author of many books, Ortiz has, since 1968, taught creative writing and Native American literature at a number of institutions, including the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, the University of New Mexico and the University of Toronto. He currently teaches at Arizona State University.

There will be many roundtable discussions and presentations from noted scholars all over the country. Several sessions will deal with issues facing Native American studies in the Southeast, including “Recovery and Loss in the Southeastern United States” and “Southeastern Indians: Erasures and Absences.”

Registration for the three-day conference (which is required for all events) is $125 and includes four meals.

Native American studies is relatively new as a discipline, emerging only about 35 years ago. Though it continues to evolve, today Native American studies is a growing field of inquiry with a network of scholars around the world.