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Symposium to explore Native American news and issues beyond 'The Chief'

Craig Chamberlain, News Editor


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — What makes news in American Indian communities? What are the issues that affect them? How should those issues be covered?

Those are among the questions to be discussed at a symposium titled “More Than the Chief: Covering Native News,” at 7 p.m. on Oct. 25 at the Asian American Cultural Center, 1210 W. Nevada St., Urbana.

The goal of the event, according to journalism professor Kellee Weinhold, one of the organizers, is to look beyond the conflicts surrounding Chief Illiniwek and sports mascots, and explore the issues making news in Native American communities today.

Participating in the symposium will be a panel of Native American journalists and scholars; local and state journalists are invited to attend and join in the discussion.

Among those on the panel will be Margaret Holt from the Chicago Tribune, and Rita Pyrillis, a freelance journalist who has written for the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and United Press International. Holt has been involved with the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. Pyrillis teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and at the Native American Educational Services College in Chicago.

Pyrillis will be on campus Oct. 23-26 as a guest-in-residence with the “Intersections” Living/Learning Community in the Babcock residence hall.

Others participating on the panel include D. Anthony Tyeeme Clark, professor of American Indian Studies, and John McKinn, assistant director of the Native American House, both at Illinois. (More biographical information).

Those planning to attend are encouraged to contact Weinhold at 217-265-0092.