The 2nd Annual Native American Studies Graduate Student Symposium:
The Beginning of a Beautiful Alliance Between UC Davis and UC Berkeley
The theme of weaving was integral to this year’s conference both literally and metaphorically. In a Skype presentation, Christine Willie, UC Davis Doctoral Candidate in Native American Studies, discussed the aesthetic choices that she made in weaving the featured artwork for the conference poster: a blue, gold, and gray Navajo rug. The rug represents an evolving relationship among the graduate students at UC Davis and UC Berkeley. Christine’s description of her piece was particularly meaningful to me, since I feel fortunate to consider many of the UC Davis graduate students allies, colleagues, and friends. I have had the opportunity to be acquainted with several of the professors at UC Davis and to work closely on Cherokee language study with one of my mentors, Professor Martha Macri, through the UC Intercampus Exchange Program.
My own presentation at the conference, titled, “Weaving the Silence of the Archives: A Creative Presentation on the Similar Historical Experiences of Native Americans and Filipinos under U.S. Rule,” wove critical and creative writing. I have found creative work necessary in illuminating the silence of the archives, because particularly in the Philippines, the majority of archival documents available about colonial education are from the perspective of administrators and educators—not students.
I opened the presentation by providing a brief history of colonial education for Native American and Filipino students under U.S. occupation. Following this synopsis, which highlighted education for assimilation and the implementation of industrial training as a tool utilized by the federal government to preserve race, class, and gender hierarchies, I moved to a reading of my creative work, a novel in poetic verse. This creative work-in-progress is currently composed of several stanzas reflecting my experiences, observations, and the nine months of research that I conduced on a Fulbright fellowship in Manila. The collection is tentatively titled, Dead Center of the Heart. Below is a link to two of the poems that I read, which have previously been published by As/Us journal, co-edited by Casandra Lopez and Tanaya Winder:
Tria Andrews is a Doctoral Candidate in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley and a graduate of the MFA program in Fiction from San Diego State University. Her critical research examines culturally relevant forms of rehabilitation for Native American youth in juvenile detention centers located on tribal grounds. This research is informed by over five years of tutoring and teaching yoga to incarcerated adolescents.