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July 20, 2001

Evocative Discussions and Tributes to Elders
Highlight 16th Annual Indian Conference

Event Details

Painting by Frank LaPena, Winta-Nomtipom TribePlay 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 Reed.

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 Media assistance is available by contacting CSUS public affairs at (916) 278-6156.

Event Details


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