University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

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Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Events

Sponsored by the Native American House, American Indian Studies Program, the Office of the Chancellor, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, University Library, University Housing, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, the Department of History, Illinois Public Media, the Humanities Research Institute, and Inclusion & Leadership Mentors. These events are paid, in part, by the Student Cultural Programming Fee.

Schedule of Events

All events will be held at Knight Auditorium, Spurlock Museum of World Cultures (600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana), unless otherwise noted.

If you will need disability-related accommodations in order to participate at the Spurlock Museum, please email Brian Cudiamat, Coordinator of Special Events, Spurlock Museum, For events at the Native American House or Illinois Street Residence Hall, please email Assistant Director Eduardo Martinez at Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your access needs.

Sunday, October 8

4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Ken Burns’ American Buffalo: A Conversation about Indigenous Environmental History at UIUC

Moderator: Professor Emeritus Frederick E. Hoxie, Department of History
Panelists: Rosalyn LaPier (Blackfeet Tribe of Montana/Métis), Robert Morrissey, and Sam Froiland

A “screener” from PBS highlights the Ken Burns documentary, The American Buffalo: Following the screener, we will have a panel and Q and A with Professor Rosalyn LaPier, Professor Robert Morrissey, and Sam Froiland. A reception will follow.

Event Sponsors: Spurlock Museum of World Cultures, Department of History, and Illinois Public Media.

Monday, October 9

9:00 a.m.
Recognition of Place and Welcome

9:30 – 10:30 a.m.
Aloha Center Chicago

The Aloha Center Chicago is a multimedia cultural arts center that fosters teaching, learning, fellowship, and cultural connection among local and visiting Pacific Islanders. Executive Director Lanialoha Lee is a third-generation Native Hawaiian born and raised in Chicago and is the co-curator of Chicago’s Hula Legacy exhibit at the Field Museum. Lanialoha will emcee this 1-hour session comprising hula, music, and education about the 150-year presence of hula practitioners in Chicago.

10:45 – 11:45 a.m.
Becoming an Indigenous-Promoting Institution: A Conversation with Native American House Ambassadors and Native Alumni 

Moderator: Dr. Danita Brown Young, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

Panelists: David Eby (Choctaw), Yanaba Schroeder (Navajo), Cydnee Weber (Pamunkey/Cherokee), and Dr. Shannon Epplett (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)

Indigenous-promoting institutions of higher education center sovereignty and self-determination to holistically strengthen Indigenous academic identity development. This approach, at best, transforms the ecology of campus environments for all students and, at worst, stops at land acknowledgments. In this session, moderator Dr. Danita Brown Young engages the panelists on the challenges and possibilities of the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign in supporting the higher education goals of Native students.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Community Feed

For many Indigenous Peoples, feeding the community, including guests, is a way to foster connections and serves as an act of reciprocity. We invite you to share a meal with your University of Illinois Urbana Champaign relatives. Food is first come, first serve, so arrive early and bring your i-card!

1:15 to 2:15 p.m.

Centering Our Intentions: Place-based Approaches to Creating Relational Praxis in Higher Education

Dr. Christine Nelson (Kawaika/Diné), Associate Professor, Morgridge College of Education, University of Denver

As an Indigenous woman at a predominantly white university, Dr. Christine Nelson has learned the importance of storying to navigate settler educational systems. In her session, she will share how she connects concepts of land and non-humans beings to deepen her commitment to being intentional in shaping the functions of higher education.

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Dr. Charlotte E. Davidson (Diné/Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation), Native American House, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
10 Books to Read on Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Pop-up Library

Location: Native American House, 1206 W. Nevada Street, Urbana

Curated in collaboration with María Emerson, Student Success Librarian, the pop-up library is an opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to see themselves represented in the University Library collections. Visitors can check out materials about Indigenous Peoples onsite and engage with María about the range of library resources and services available on campus. All are welcome!

4:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Native-themed Meal

Location: Illinois Street Residence Halls, 1010 W. Illinois St., Urbana

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, University Housing will bring a taste of Indigenous food flavors to ISR. Visit the Illinois App or Housing website for details.

5:30 p.m.
Gather: A Documentary + Panel

Location: ISR Room 50 A/B, Illinois Street Residence Halls, 1010 W. Illinois St., Urbana

Moderator: Dr. Shannon Epplett (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians)
Panelists: David Eby (Choctaw), Yanaba Schroeder (Navajo), and Cydnee Weber (Pamunkey/Cherokee)

“GATHER” is the story of the rebuilding of Native food systems. This feature film is an intimate portrait tracing the intentional destruction of Native American foodways, renaissance, and resilience—screening followed by a panel discussion. All are welcome!

Sponsor: Inclusion & Leadership Mentors, University Housing and Native American House