For our inaugural year, the Native American Graduate Student Association transformed the Risling Room into a colorful display of student artwork, crafts, and presentations. Entering the room, attendees were greeted with California Indian basket weavings, Diné weavings looms and rugs, and 6 large pieces of Alicia María Siu’s canvas paintings, one of which was Iyat Pahtli (Tabacco Medicine), the symposium’s image for this years theme “Engaging the Indigenous Americas.”
Associate Professor Hulleah Tsinhnahjinnie opened the space with a blessing reminding us of the footprints that we follow as scholars of Native American Studies. While the path through academia may be filled with obstacles, departments like NAS and events like our Graduate Student Symposium are helping to prepare us with tools to face the challenges and enjoy the travels.
Dr. Martha Macri’s keynote talk allowed for personal and professional insight to the hemispheric, interdisciplinary, and multi-lingual philosophies of the UC Davis Native American Studies Department. The day-long event ended with NAS student presentations of creative work, hosted by Dr. Inés Hernández-Avila who opened the session with a song, encapsulating the title of the session: “An evening of flower and song,” and closed the session with a reading for her mother. During the session, Alicia María Siu offered a keynote address about the artwork displayed throughout the day. NAS graduate students followed, highlighting their own creative activities such as California Indian basket weaving, Diné rug weavings, poetry, blog writing, and photography displays, reminding us that art is another facet of critical inquiry, knowledge, theory, and praxis.
Archives of the day’s event will be available in the near future; so don’t forget to check back in with our symposium page.
Thank you from the symposium committee co chairs – Patricia Killelea and Christine M. Willie
Photos are courtesy of NAS Graduate Student Bayu Kristianto