Annual Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium
THE 19TH ANNUAL VINE DELORIA, JR. INDIGENOUS STUDIES SYMPOSIUM
MAY 23 & 24, 2024
NWIC LUMMI CAMPUS, LOG BUILDING (CULTURAL LEARNING CENTER #7)
The purpose of the Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium is to honor the life and continue the work of one of the nation’s foremost authors, scholars, and intellectuals who passed away on November 13, 2005. Throughout his life Deloria maintained ties with friends, tribes, and institutions in the Northwest. One of his final public appearances was as the plenary speaker at the Robert K. Thomas Symposium held in 2005 at Northwest Indian College. Following this event he expressed his desire to make the college the site of a yearly symposium in Indigenous Studies. It is with this mandate in mind that we not only seek to carry out his wishes, but also to name the symposium in his honor.
2024 Theme: Protecting and honoring the natural world
In contemporary times, the convergence of ancestral environmental teachings and revitalized indigenous practices holds profound significance in preserving and adapting knowledge systems to safeguard the natural world within native communities. This year we use the book Spirit & Reason: The Vine Deloria, Jr., Reader published in 1999 to help us examine how we honor and protect the natural world. The teachings ingrained through ancestral environmental teachings provide an intricate understanding of the world and foster confidence in navigating it, “today we see a great revival of traditional practices in many tribes. These restorations are important symbols of a sense of community, but they must be accompanied by hard and clear thinking that can distinguish what is valuable in the world ways from the behavior we are expected to practice as members of the larger American society” (Deloria 1999, 143). This foundational knowledge equips individuals with a sense of self-assurance, enabling them to partake in actions with conviction. As Deloria states, “traditional education gives us an orientation to the world around us, particularly the people around us so that we know who we are and have confidence when we do things” (Deloria 1999, 143); the present resurgence of traditional customs among younger generations within various tribes signifies a pivotal shift towards embracing ancestral crafts, songs, dances, and religious ceremonies.
These revitalizations symbolize the revival of community bonds and heritage but necessitate a deliberate emphasis on critical thinking. It becomes paramount to discern the intrinsic value embedded in traditional ways amidst the societal norms and expectations imposed by the larger American context. By intertwining education, traditional practices, and astute discernment, these communities can navigate the complexities of the modern world while preserving and adapting invaluable indigenous knowledge systems in service of safeguarding the natural world.
Deloria, V. Jr. (1999). Spirit & Reason: The Vine Deloria Jr. Reader. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing.
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2024 Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium Poster
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NWIC Extended Campus Locations
Northwest Indian College‘s main campus is located at the Lummi Nation. The College also has six full service extended campus sites located at Muckleshoot, Nez Perce, Nisqually, Port Gamble S’Klallam, Swinomish, and Tulalip. Please use the location links to view details for each extended campus site.