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25 Years

Nature and Indigenous Traditional Arts

Thu, 10/22/2020 - 12:00pm
Event Location: 

"An Alliance Between Humans and Creatures": Indigenous Stories of Nature, Healing and Resilience

Nature and Indigenous Traditional Arts 

Thursday, October 22, 2020 12-1pm CDT

Please click here to join the Zoom webinar

Passcode: TradArts1

In his 1998 talk, “An Alliance Between Humans and Creatures,” Yupiat scholar Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley discussed the materialism and consumerism that characterize modern living. Our cities, lifestyles, and very approach to natural resources, he said, were fragmented. He called for alliances—between humans and nature and Indigenous knowledge systems and western research—and he reminded us that our thinking required a shift, and our work needed to be responsive: “Native ways of knowing…entail constant flux of doing. The universe and Mother Earth are constantly changing. If we are looking at and trying to make sense of the world in which we live, we must speak of it as an active process.”

Today as Indigenous peoples face the pandemics of health, economic, and social injustice, we consider our relationships to the natural world through research, art, education, and conservation. In this webinar series, open to all, we share our stories, observations, efforts, and ideas regarding respectful alliances with nature and across humanity.


(Niiyogiizhig) Wesley Ballinger (Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe) and serves as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the American Indian Studies Department at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Prior to this position, he served as Language Specialist and Program Coordinator for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) where he worked on Ojibwe language projects to produce resource materials in language revitalization and promoted Anishinaabe culture, history, ideologies, traditional knowledge, and sovereignty as necessary tools in developing meaningful tribal natural resource management strategies and outreach efforts. His artwork appears on Ojibwe posters for GLIFWC, museum interactive displays for the Minnesota Historical Society, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indians. He also co-produced the Awesiiyensag book series and is now working on the Aanjibimaadizing book series as an illustrator.

Porter Swentzell (Santa Clara Pueblo) is a Tewa scholar from Kha’p’o Owingeh where he grew up participating in traditional life in his community and developed an interest in language and cultural preservation. He serves as the Associate Academic Dean, Associate Professor, and Chair of Indigenous Liberal Studies at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and is a board member of the Native American Endowment Fund and also serves as a Regent for Northern New Mexico College. His research and training focus on Indigenous place-based educational practices, critical geography, and tribal sovereignty.