July 20, 2001
Evocative Discussions and Tributes to Elders
Highlight 16th Annual Indian Conference
a part in a celebration of the proud heritage of California
Indian culture - from the traditions of the ancestors to contemporary
artists - at the 16th annual Native American Conference and
Gathering. This free event is at California State University,
Sacramento, Oct. 11 - 13.
"This is the first time the conference has been held
in the Sacramento Valley. What makes this significant is that
Sacramento is so centrally located, as well as the fact that
the California State Indian Museum in located here,"
says Annette Reed, director of CSUS Native American studies
and co-coordinator of the conference.
Coordinators hope the conference will be a resource for people
interested in Native American customs. Contributions Indian
traditions made to Western culture provide insight into California's
- and the country's - history and the one of the goals of
the conference is to provide a forum for educators, tribe
members and the public to discuss Native American culture.
"We want to provide a meeting place between academia
and the California Native American people to help create networks
and alliances among the tribes and the community," says
The theme of this year's conference is "Honoring Our
Elders to Ensure Our Future." Honoring ancestors is a
common human experience, which occurs in many cultures throughout
the world in a variety of ways and, according to Reed, it
is a matter of survival.
"The importance of honoring elders is crucial. We need
to understand native cultural events and traditions to ensure
that they survive for the next generation," says Reed.
The conference will include panel discussions and presentations
on topics ranging from contemporary Indian studies to current
reparation legislation to historical events - as well as workshops
on Indian art, artifacts, basketry, pottery, jewelry, instruments,
ceremonies, dances and storytelling.
Nationally recognized artist and co-coordinator Frank LePena
created an original work of art for the conference, which
connects evocative spiritual subject matter with traditional
Indian customs to represent the event's theme.
"I was primarily inspired by the Indian deer ceremonies
- there are two versions - which are traditional dances in
which we pay respect to the deer as a food source, acknowledging
it as being part of the natural world that we human beings
depend upon, " LaPena says.
LaPena is a CSUS professor emeritus of ethnic studies and
former director of the University's Native American studies.
An active poet, dancer and artist, La Pena was one of 32 people
from throughout the Western Hemisphere selected by the Smithsonian
Institution as advisors in the creation of its new national
museum dedicated to Native American art and culture.
For more information about the 16th annual Native American
conference contact Reed at (916) 278-6363 or visit http://www.csus.edu/nas.
Media assistance is available by contacting CSUS public affairs
at (916) 278-6156.
further information send E-Mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or
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