By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
Challenges of technology and a celebration of the past highlight Northeastern State University’s 41st annual Symposium on the American Indian.
The symposium is scheduled for Wednesday through Saturday at NSU’s Tahlequah campus. NSU also will present an American Indian film series from today through Wednesday.
“Technology Future, Technology Past: A Woven Link” is the theme of this year’s symposium, organized by NSU's Center for Tribal Studies and the American Indian Heritage Committee. All events are free.
The symposium’s opening ceremony is to begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Rozell Ballroom B.
Phyllis Fife, the director of the Center for Tribal Studies, said tribes are “getting into using the latest technology in all aspects of tribal operations and their community.”
However, people are aware of the limitations for rural residents in accessing technology, she said.
The symposium will feature several sessions spotlighting how tribes use technology, she said.
For example, representatives of the Chickasaw Nation will talk about how they use technology at the Chickasaw Cultural Center, she said. The Muscogee (Creek) also will talk about its use of technology, she said.
This year’s symposium also marks the 50th anniversary of the Cherokee National Historical Society.
Charles “Chief” Boyd, the historical society’s official architect since 1964, will give a keynote speech at 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Rozell Ballroom.
Boyd, who is in the Tulsa firm of Thalden Boyd Emery Architects, designed the Cherokee Heritage Center’s museum, amphitheater, ancient village and other buildings.
He said he began the work as a thesis project for his bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado.
“For your final project, you had to find someone to act as your client,” he said.
Boyd recalled meeting with William W. Keeler, the chief of the Cherokee Nation and the chief executive officer of Phillips Petroleum Co., in the early 1960s.
He said Keeler told him, “You do a good job on your thesis, and we’ll build it.”
Boyd’s current project is a newer, more accurate ancient village at the Heritage Center.
The Cherokee National Historical Society is one of his many clients.
“I’ve worked with 98 different tribes, building casinos, resorts and hotels,” Boyd said. “The tribes in the United States have so many different cultures. Everyone thinks Indians live in teepees. But our cultures are all very different.”
The American Indian film series begins today. The films will be shown in the Webb Auditorium. They include “Native American Paranormal Project” at 7 p.m. Monday, “Killing Stereotypes: ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and Natives in Popular Culture” at 7 p.m. Tuesday and “Age-Old Technology Meets Pop Culture” at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The NSU Powwow will be 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday. The powwow is part of the NSU Arts of Indigenous Cultures Series and funded in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
WHAT: Northeastern State University’s 41st annual Symposium of the American Indian.
WHEN: Wednesday through Saturday.
• Film series, 7 p.m. today through Wednesday.
• Sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday and 10:15 a.m. Thursday and Friday.
WHERE: NSU Tahlequah Campus, 600 N. Grand Ave.