I was particularly excited to see the variety of papers presented at the symposium. I loved seeing the various articulations of the diverse locations Native people occupy and the wide-range of ways Indianness is enacted in these different spaces. In Mishauna Goeman’s keynote presentation I learned about the co-constitutive settler states of Canada and the U.S. and how Native peoples cross and interrogate these states and borders. I found similar themes in the presentations by Katie Keliiaa on Native women being employed as domestic workers in the Bay area and Brian Clearwater’s presentation on Native spiritual networks in urban locals. I was struck by the way, in each of these discussions; Native people were not constrained by place, but enacted agency across place and time. The presentations across both days of the symposium addressed a wide variety of topics, but the questions and discussions they generated across disciplines, campuses, and programs demonstrated the ways that all of our work has intersections.
I am incredibly thankful to the planning committee Angel Hinzo, Vanessa Equivido, Sandra Gutierrez, Cutcha Risling Baldy, Cuauhtemoc Lule, Rebecca Figueroa, and Bayu Kristianto for putting this event together. Events like this are so important for us as graduate students to make connections across fields and programs. It also provides a supportive space among other young scholars to share our work. I have presented papers at other conferences in my field and I found that presenting at this symposium was such and overwhelmingly positive experience that I deeply valued.
My presentation was titled The Settler Colonial Schooling Dialectic: Native American and African American Education in Counterpoint and focused on a close examination of the interconnections between Black vocational schooling in the south, particularly the Hampton Institute, and the development of Indian Boarding schools. I used this examination to theorize the underlying mechanisms of assimilation and othering that create the settler colonial school system. I recently presented a portion of this paper at the American Educational Research Association Annual conference and I plan to use the theoretical framework crafted in this paper to inform my current work with Native students going to school in Oakland.