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Northwestern Creates Native American Steering Group

Works to increase understanding of Native American, Indigenous issues

  • Committee to address issues raised by the John Evans Study Committee
  • Effort builds on success of One Book programming on Native American issues
  • American Indian Center of Chicago among local partners of steering group
  • Consists of 37 students, faculty members, community representatives
  • Recommendations of University’s Native American task force among group’s focuses 

EVANSTON, Ill.  --- In an effort to continue addressing the issues raised by the John Evans Study Committee, Northwestern University has established a Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group.

Comprised of 37 students, faculty members and community members, the steering group is taking inspiration from the “One Book One Northwestern” program to support programming and projects and work to increase campus-wide interest in and understanding of Native topics and issues.

During this year’s One Book program, the Northwestern community has been reading Thomas King’s “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.” Focused on Native American issues, the One Book programming included 76 events – an all-time high.  

The new steering group’s first meeting included a discussion about Northwestern’s progress in fulfilling the November 2014 recommendations of the University’s Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force. The group also discussed the sponsorship of a series of events during Native American Heritage Month in November.

The group is chaired by Northwestern professor and former Medill Dean Loren Ghiglione, the faculty chair of the 2015-16 One Book One Northwestern program. Ninah Divine, who will graduate from Northwestern in 2016, will provide staff support.

“The steering group hopes to involve all schools of the university,” Ghiglione said. “The recent hiring of faculty and post docs who are focused on Native subjects offers an opportunity for 2016-17 to be an especially important year in Northwestern’s growth.”

Ghiglione expects the committee to expand One Book’s efforts to work with the American Indian Center of Chicago, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies and other member organizations of the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative.

“Night at the Museum” was among the One Book programming. The night featured a mini-powwow and demonstrations of American Indian storytelling, beadwork and other Native crafts, bringing 2,400 first-year students to the Field Museum for a special after-hours visit.

One Book also developed a University-wide essay contest for incoming students and offered panels on provocative topics, including “Revisiting John Evans and the Sand Creek Massacre” and “Native American Stereotypes and Mascots in Sports.” 

Other members of the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group include students Lorenzo Gudino (Fort Sill Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache), president of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance); Reuben Aguirre (Navajo), co-president of Native American Law Students Association; Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee), a new admissions and student services staffer; Pamala Silas (Menominee), executive director of the National American Indian Housing Council; and Dorene Wiese (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Mississippi Band, White Earth Reservation Enrolled), president of the American Indian Association of Illinois.

Entire Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group:

  • Reuben Aguirre (Navajo), Northwestern Pritzker School of Law ’17; co-president, Native American Law Students Association
  • Shannon Bartlett, director of diversity education and outreach, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Jabbar Bennett, associate provost, diversity and inclusion; associate professor of medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine
  •  Debra Blade, assistant director of building services, marketing and promotions, Norris Center
  • Ann R. Bradlow, professor of linguistics; associate dean for academic initiatives, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences
  • Geraldo L. Cadava, associate professor, department of history; program in Latina and Latino Studies; and department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Mark Cleveland (Cherokee descent), Northwestern ’87
  • Gabriella Cramer (Mashpee Wampanoag), Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences ’18
  • Janet Dees, curator, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art
  • Chase Enloe (Cherokee), Weinberg ’19; treasurer, Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance
  • Cyndee Fox-Starr (Omaha - Odawa), special events coordinator, American Indian Center of Chicago
  • Loren Ghiglione, professor at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communicaitons
  • Lorenzo Gudino (Fort Sill Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache), Medill ’17; president, Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance
  • Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee), assistant director, Multicultural Student Affairs, and Undergraduate Admissions
  • Sean Harte (Menominee), Weinberg ‘87
  • M. Geoffrey Hayes, assistant professor, medicine, endocrinology division, Feinberg
  • Hi’ilei Julia Kawehipua’akaha’opulani Hobart, postdoctoral fellow, Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
  • Doug Kiel (Oneida), assistant professor, department of history, Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
  •  Scott Leydon (Métis), second-year performance studies graduate student; treasurer, Colloquium on Indigeneity and Native American Studies
  •  Patty Loew (enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe), visiting professor of journalism, Medill (fall quarter)
  • Eugene Y. Lowe Jr., assistant to the President
  • John David Marquez (Ndeh - Chiricahua & Natahende), associate professor, African American and Latino/a studies
  • Kathleen McDonald, executive director, Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
  • Douglas Medin, professor of psychology, Weinberg; professor of education, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Kai Orton (Inupiat, Nez Perce, Canadian American), research assistant professor, School of Education and Social Policy
  • Margaret (Meg) Pollak, postdoctoral fellow, global health studies and department of anthropology
  • Kim Rapp, associate director, international program development
  • Beth Red Bird (Oglala Lakota and Oklahoma Choctaw), assistant professor, department of sociology
  • Beatriz Reyes (Navajo), postdoctoral fellow, global health studies
  • Monica Russel y Rodríguez, associate dean of teaching-track and visiting faculty, senior lecturer anthropology and Latina and Latino studies, Weinberg
  • Pamala Silas (Menominee), executive director, National American Indian Housing Council
  • Cynthia Soto (Sicangu Lakota/Puerto Rican), director, Native American Support Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Eli Suzukovich (Little Shell Band of Chippewa-Cree), lecturer, Environmental Policy and Culture Program
  • David Takehara (Sioux, Japanese-American), director, financial operations information technology
  • Dorene P. Wiese (Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Mississippi Band, White Earth Reservation Enrolled), president, American Indian Association of Illinois
  • Larissa Williams, senior director, diversity and inclusion, Kellogg School of Management
  • Kelly E. Wisecup, assistant professor, department of English

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