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   from the issue of March 29, 2007

Former tribal president to open Ethnic Studies Week


The Institute for Ethnic Studies at UNL will hold its annual Ethnic Studies week April 2-6.

Fire Thunder
Fire Thunder

The department will coordinate a series of speakers, brown-bag lunches and information sessions designed to inform the campus and local community about the discipline of ethnic studies. Only one of the events - the April 6 Ethnic Studies Spring Celebration - is by invitation only; all other events are free and open to the public.

Two key speakers will bookend the week's events. Cecilia Fire Thunder, former tribal president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe of South Dakota and one of the founders of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, will speak at 11:30 a.m. April 2 in the Nebraska Union (room posted). Fire Thunder is also a public health nurse and a founder of the organization Sacred Circle, an organization that addresses domestic violence. The title of her lecture is "She Rode a White Horse."

On April 6, the university will host a keynote presentation by Johnnella Butler, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Spelman College in Atlanta. She will speak at 1 p.m. in the Nebraska Union (room posted) on "Ethnic Studies, Globalization and Higher Education." Butler has published on issues of ethnic and gender diversity in the academy, and in 2006 received the Charles C. Irby Award for Distinguished Service from the National Association for Ethnic Studies. A reception and book signing will follow her lecture.

A series of brown-bag lunches (each from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Nebraska Union) and presentations by Ethnic Studies will round out the week's activities:

• April 3 - brown-bag lunch features student winners of the Ethnic Studies essay contest will give brief presentations; at 6:30 p.m., the film "Gatekeeper" will be presented at the Culture Center, 333 N. 14th St.

• April 4 - Brown-bag lunch featuring James Garza, professor of history and ethnic studies, "Of Suspicious Reputation: Race and the Making of Criminals in Late 19th-Century Mexico City"; 3:30, the Latino Research Initiative will present a colloquium by Jenelle Reeves and Ted Hamann, "Preparing Nebraska Teachers to See Demographic Change as an Opportunity: Reflections on Immigrant Integration and the Role of Government, Communities and Institutions"

• April 5 - Brown-bag lunch featuring Oyekan Owomoyela, professor of English and coordinator of African American and African studies, will present "African Representations in the American Academy".

The University of Nebraska State Museum and the Nebraska State Historical Society's Museum of Nebraska History will offer special activities for the week. The NU State Museum will co-sponsor a reception with Ethnic Studies 4:30-6 p.m. April 5 to showcase its ethnic collections in Morrill Hall. The Museum of Nebraska History, 15th and P streets, has two relevant exhibits that will be open to the public during Ethnic Studies Week. "The First Nebraskan" traces the history of American Indian peoples in the place now called Nebraska, and "Building the State: Nebraska, 1867-1916" looks at the diverse people and cultures who came to call the state of Nebraska home.

For more information, contact Nancy Knapp at



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