NSU Symposium on the American Indian celebrates 50 years in 2023

Northeastern State University will host the Symposium on the American Indian on April 10-15 at its Tahlequah campus. 

TAHLEQUAH – Northeastern State University’s annual Symposium on the American Indian will return for its 50th year in April.

The weeklong celebration of Native culture and scholarship will take place April 10 – 15 at the NSU Tahlequah campus.

“We will celebrate fifty years of scholarship, broadening perspectives, community building, diversity and culture since the annual symposium and gatherings of Native American knowledge-carriers began at NSU,” NSU Center for Tribal Studies Director Sara Barnett said.

Starting half a century ago, the annual Symposium on the American Indian at NSU began as just a single day event bringing together Native American scholars to examine historic and contemporary topics such as sovereignty, Native language revitalization, health and social well-being and more.

Over the years, it has evolved and expanded to a full week of events welcoming individuals from all demographics including K-12 and college students, educators, professionals, community members and attracting visitors from across the United States and internationally each year.

For its 50th anniversary, the theme is “Envisioning Indigenous Futurity.” Barnett said this year’s symposium will explore the concepts of futurity within a variety of disciplines, including history, cultural anthropology, leadership, Tribal sovereignty, research, sustainability and community development, among others. 

“This year’s theme offers time to reflect on our past, evaluate the present and look forward to the future with hope,” Barnett said. “Futurity is viewed by some as an integration of the past, present and future. This way of thinking regarding how our past influences the present, and subsequently, the present affects the future is not a new concept for Indigenous peoples.”

Keynote speakers for the 50th Symposium on the American Indian at NSU will include Dr. Doug Kiel (Oneida Nation), Dr. Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Zuni Pueblo/Tlingit) and Dr. Laura Harjo (Mvskoke).

In addition to the keynote speakers, the symposium will also feature several other speakers sharing their Indigenous perspectives on various disciplines, workshops, demonstrations, a fashion show and more. The symposium will conclude with the annual NSU Powwow on the final day.

Funding for this program is provided in part by a grant from the Oklahoma Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This project was also supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Oklahoma and the National Endowment for the Arts.   

For a complete schedule of events visit nsuok.edu/symposium, call 918-444-4350 or email tribalstudies@nsuok.edu.