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Speaker series, reading group focus on indigeneity issues

Andrea Lynn, Humanities Editor

Released 10/4/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Jeff Corntassel will be the next speaker in the “Indigeneity as a Category of Critical Analysis Speaker Series” at the University of Illinois.

Corntassel, a member of the Cherokee Nation and a professor in the Indigenous Governance Programs at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, will speak at 4 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 10) at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.

Corntassel’s talk is titled “Persistence of Peoplehood: Regenerating Indigeneity During the Forced Federalism Era.” The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the American Indian Studies Program at Illinois.

Corntassel is the author of a forthcoming book, “Forced Federalism: Contemporary Challenge to Indigenous Nationhood.” The book examines how indigenous nations in the United States have mobilized politically from the 1990s to the current day as they encounter new threats to their nations at the state and federal levels of governance.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn will be the final Indigeneity speaker of the semester on Nov. 6. A professor emerita in Native American studies and English at Eastern Washington University, Cook-Lynn will discuss and analyze “Indian Studies and Postcoloniality” and talk about how American Indian studies programs impact universities in the United States.

Her talk begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Levis Center and is free and open to the public.

Cook-Lynn, or Isianti/Ihanktowan, is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe from Fort Thompson, S.D. An award-winning poet, essayist and a founding editor of the Wicazo Sa Review, her publications include “I remember the fallen trees: new and selected poems,” “Aurelia: A Crow Creek Trilogy,” “Anti-Indianism in Modern America,” “Notebooks of Elizabeth Cook-Lynn” and “New Indians, Old Wars.”

According to its Web site, the Indigeneity Speaker Series and Reading Group provide the occasion to address several questions: how does “indigenous” signify and challenge the historical and material conditions of colonization, industrialism and globalization?; in what ways does indigeneity permit the remapping of state sovereignty or the hegemony of multinational institutions?; does indigeneity function as a political, geographical or theoretical category?; how does bringing indigeneity to the fore in fields such as anthropology, gender studies, history, law, literary studies, philosophy, political science, psychology and sociology allow for new intellectual relationships in the humanities?; and what are the responsibilities of university-based American Indian studies scholars to engage “legacies of imperialism in which our lands, resources and intellectual traditions have been appropriated and redeployed as the foundation for state power?”

“Engaging critically with indigeneity as a site of intellectual inquiry allows scholars interested in social justice to radically address discourses that underpin colonial institutions,” said LeAnne Howe, interim director of the American Indian Studies Program at Illinois and a professor of English.