1st Annual Native November Speaker Series from the Native American Task Force

In November 2021, the Native American Task Force of the UW–Madison Division of Extension held the 1st Annual Native November Speaker Series celebrating Native American Heritage month.

Every Monday at 10:00 AM in the month of November, the Native American Task Force hosted these speaker sessions:

November 1: “Land Grab U”
Participants watched the 40 minute video “Land Grab U Workshop 04-08-2021” featuring historian Robert Lee and journalist Tristan Ahtone (Kiowa) to learn about Land Grab U.org and the 1862 Morrill land-grant act’s relationship to Indigenous lands. Participants then discussed ways in which land-grant universities might engage Native American Nations in consideration of the 1862 Morrill Act and expropriated Indigenous lands. Through four treaties and the Morrill Act, the University of Wisconsin-Madison ultimately received expropriated Menominee and Ojibwe lands in what would become eight counties (Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Marathon, Oconto, Polk, and Shawano): the 1836 Treaty of the Cedars and 1848 Treaty of Lake Poygan, both with the Menominee, and the 1837 Treaty of St. Peters and 1842 Treaty of LaPointe that included the Lac du Flambeau, the Lac Courte Oreilles, and the St. Croix Ojibwe, along with other bands and nations of the Lake Superior Ojibwe.

November 8: “From Historical Trauma to Healing”
Historical actions throughout United States history continue to impact tribal communities today. The Indian boarding school era is one of many assimilation policies that have had lasting effects on all of the Tribal Nations in what is now known as Wisconsin. In this session, participants heard stories about that experience, learned about the presence of boarding schools with some of Extension’s Tribal partners, and most importantly, learned about the resiliency of Tribal communities. Colleagues shared about Indigenous food sovereignty, health, and language reclamation efforts that are strengthening Tribal communities.

November 15: Special Guest Speaker Dr. Sonya Atalay presents “An Archaeology Led by Strawberries: Reclaiming, Storywork, & Indigenous Wellbeing”
In this talk, Dr. Atalay presented her current work on a series of land-based archaeology and repatriation projects utilizing a community-based participatory approach with Indigenous youth and elders. Centering Anishinaabe epistemologies and concepts of well-being, Dr. Atalay explored how reclaiming traditional knowledge, ancestral remains, Indigenous language, and sacred sites can contribute to healing and well-being. She discussed her use of arts-based research and knowledge mobilization methods—including collaborative comics, storybaskets and counter mapping, and augmented reality augmentations—as part of Indigenous storywork, demonstrating how lessons drawn from reclaiming tangible and intangible heritage provide a model for imagining decolonial research futures.

November 22: “NIBI IS LIFE!”
Nibi is the Anishinabe word for water. In this session we explored relationship, reciprocity, responsibility, and relevance (the four R’s) in developing culturally responsive programming. Relationship building provides the foundation for developing more culturally respectful ways of fostering effective partnerships that weave in the 4R’s. This shifts our “western” oriented Extension service model to one that fully integrates indigenous perspectives into all aspects of programming. This is Extension’s responsibility.

November 29: “Celebrate Our Partnerships in Tribal Communities”
While the Division of Extension is accessible to all Tribal communities, there is a direct presence in four Tribal communities that will be highlighted. Participants learned how these partnerships evolved and about the unique partnerships that exist today. This dynamic and culturally informed work has impacts not only locally for Tribal communities, but at the state and federal level as well. We closed this series with a celebration of our collective work.

Sessions were recorded and will be made available on the Native American Task Force website.