MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 1, 2011

Event tackles Native issues

Leaders in the Native American community met at Bacone College Thursday to discuss issues such as tribal culture, Supreme Court decisions that affect tribes and tribal sovereignty.

Students and visitors were invited to join the discussions about contemporary issues that affect Native Americans at Bacone College’s third annual Spring Symposium.

“Contemporary Issues in Indian Country” continues today, and the public is invited.

During Thursday’s sessions, Bacone’s Director of Criminal Justice Studies Wambli Sina Win gave an overview of the college’s CJS program and spoke on “Anti-Indianism and U.S. Supreme Court Decisions.”

Win talked about the beginning of stricter laws on Native Americans with specific court cases and a lack of respect from the Federal government for tribal law.

“This had to do with the Constitution and court decisions that tribes perceive as undermining tribal sovereignty,” Win said.

Other speakers included CJS students and graduate student Scott Ketchum who spoke on tribal sovereignty as well.

Guest speakers today will talk about issues such as the role of tribal culture and the origin of tribal constitutions beginning at 9:30 a.m. with Jerry Bread, University of Oklahoma Native American Studies, coordinator of outreach and development.

Student debates on such topics as blood quantum and mascot issues begin at 10:25 a.m.

Keynote speaker Dennis Banks can not attend, but Dr. Joseph Bohanon will speak on diabetes during the noon session.

Principal Chief of the Natchez Hutke Fields will talk about “The Cultural Continuum from Traditional to Assimilated” beginning at 3:25 p.m.

The symposium is sponsored by Bacone’s Criminal Justice Studies program, American Indian Studies program and student life.

Student Life Director Floyd Jones spoke and sang with his aunt and cousin to close Thursday’s activities.

“This is what I battle for every day,” Jones told the assembled, with his arm around his Aunt Mulsey Long. “We get caught up in laws and legalities, but I treasure the simple ways of life.”

Today’s activities conclude with a 7 p.m. Medicine Wheel Organic Garden Ceremony behind Bacone’s Walter Starr building.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

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