Fresno State’s observance of Native American Heritage Month will continue with three lectures this week by Dr. Cornel Pewewardy, professor and director of Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University.

These free, public lectures will examine Indigenous peoples’ experience with colonialism, development and globalization. All of the lectures will be held in the Agricultural Science building, room 109 (west of Satellite Student Union).

  • Tuesday, Nov. 18 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. – “Why Society should not ignore the Indian mascot controversy”
  • Tuesday, Nov. 18 from 5 -6 p.m. – “How the Grinch stole Thanksgiving: Alternatives to celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday”
  • Wednesday Nov. 19 from 3 -4:30 p.m.—“Walk a mile in my redface: Indigenous resurgence and self-determination sustainability”

Pewewardy’s research has explored Native American mascots in schools and media, recruiting/retention of Native students in higher education, Indigenous teaching processes, Indigenous urban and reservation-based teacher education, culturally responsive tribal colleges, transformational Indigenous schools, Indigenous identity (de)construction, Indigenous community-based participatory research methods and ethnomusicology (digitizing tribal music).

While many schools around the country use Indian mascots and logos, Pewewardy believes this is an inauthentic representation of Indigenous cultures. In an essay for Educators Resources, he disagrees with school officials who think they are honoring Indigenous Peoples with Indian mascots, arguing that the practice is offensive.

“There’s nothing in Indigenous cultures that I’m aware of that aspires to be a mascot, logo, or nickname for athletic teams,” he said. “Indigenous Peoples would never have associated the sacred practices of becoming a warrior with the hoopla of a pep rally, half-time entertainment, or a side-kick to cheerleaders.

The lectures are co-sponsored by the American Indian Studies Program, the American Indian Faculty and Staff Association and First Nations Indigenous Students Association.

For more information contact Dr. Charles Ettner, American Indian Studies Program coordinator, at 559.278.8831 or 559.278.2048.

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