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The Center for Great Plains Studies
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Co-sponsored by our UNL partners:
The Environmental Studies Program
Department of History
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Department of Communication Studies
Department of Sociology
School of Global Integrative Studies
Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs
2022 Great Plains Summit Schedule
This event is part of our series of a events - A Year of Reckoning and Reconciliation: Conversation, Learning, and Connecting.
Reckoning and Reconciliation on the Great Plains: Confronting Our Past, Reimagining Our Future
Virtual and in-person events
5:30 p.m.: Reception, Lied Commons
Join us for food, drinks, and a special performance by the Umoⁿhoⁿ White Tail Singers before the keynote! Must be registered to attend.
7 p.m.: Healing Historical Harm Caused by Conquest and Colonialism in the Great Plains, Walter Echo-Hawk
In-person and virtual at the Lied Center for Performing Arts as part of of the E.N. Thompson forum.
Introduction: Kevin Abourezk
The Great Plains are traditional homelands of Indigenous tribes that were conquered, colonized, dispossessed, and displaced during the rise and growth of the United States. That nation-building process had harsh traumatic impacts on Native peoples that still linger in today's legal system and are seen in the poor living conditions and social ills of Tribal communities. There comes a time when each settler state must come to terms with its colonized Indigenous peoples, but powerful forces in the United States stymie efforts to repair harm caused by historical wrongs. The post-colonial world calls upon us to brush aside reluctance to address a painful past and turn to the accumulated wisdom traditions of the human race to heal those historical injuries. That healing framework will be examined by Walter Echo-Hawk, a Pawnee attorney who devoted his legal career to Native American justice, including justice for the Pawnee—one of Nebraska's dispossessed aboriginal peoples.
Walter Echo-Hawk is President of the Pawnee Nation Business Council. As an author, attorney, and legal scholar he was the Dan and Maggie Inouye Distinguished Chair on Democratic Ideals at University of Hawai’i’s Law School (2018). He authored The Sea of Grass (2018); In The Light Of Justice (2013); In the Courts of the Conqueror (2010); and Battlefields and Burial Grounds (1994). A Pawnee Indian with a BA, Political Science, OSU and JD, UNM, he practices law in Oklahoma. In addition to his tribal government duties, he is Chair, Board of Directors, Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums (ATALM); and is a Knowledge Givers Advisory Board member, First American Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
APRIL 7: VIRTUAL
9 a.m. CST: Black Wall Street Remembered, Hannibal Johnson
This presentation will highlight the birth of the robust, segregated Black business community in Tulsa, Oklahoma, fondly dubbed "Black Wall Street," its destruction in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, its rebirth in the wake of the massacre, its second decline during the Civil Rights Era, and its latter-day renaissance.
Johnson is a Harvard Law School graduate, an author, attorney, and consultant. He has taught at the University of Tulsa College of Law, Oklahoma State University, and the University of Oklahoma. Johnson serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the national 400 Years of African-American History Commission and the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission. His books, including Black Wall Street 100: An American City Grapples With Its Historical Racial Trauma, chronicle the African American experience in Oklahoma and its indelible impact on American history.VIDEO
10:30 - 11:30 a.m. CST: Concurrent session block 1
1. Land Acknowledgements: Performance or Praxis?
John Raible (Professor, UNL), Colette Yellow Robe (UNL), Lory Dance (Associate Professor, UNL), Amelia Montes (Associate Professor, UNL)
While land acknowledgements are becoming a more widespread phenomenon in academic spaces, disillusionment is also growing due to what many perceive as the empty, performative nature of these ostensibly well-intended institutional rituals. The purpose of this roundtable is to provide space for a variety of perspectives and voices regarding this topic. (Moderator: Gabe Bruguier)
2. Trauma and Uncertainty among Latinx Immigrant Communities
Thomas W. Sanchez (Associate Professor, UNO)
Immigration Irony: A Better Life Stymied by Law, Trauma, and Uncertainty
The research examines the everyday life of Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as college students, which is characterized by childhood and family trauma, dramatic changes in family and community structure, and instability. It is laced with an othering process based on citizenship and documentation status.
Cristián Doña-Reveco (Associate Professor, UNO)
Crisis and Culture of Fear Among Latino Communities in the Midwest
This presentation looks to analyze the everday life conditions of many Latinos and Latin American immigrants centered around the concept of a "culture of fear" as the conditions created by the government which negatively affect the possibilities of these groups to actively and positively participate in social life.
Isabelle Beulaygue (UNO)
"Somos Gente de Contacto": Emotional Regulation Among Latinos in Nebraska during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Latinos have disproportionately and negatively been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the U.S. Emerging research has investigated the economic, employment, and earnings impacts of the pandemic on Latinos, unveiling stark health disparities. Nebraska is home to a diverse Latino community, who has navigated the pandemic from a multitude of angles--health, socioeconomic and emotional. This presentation will explore the role of emotions and emotional regulation among Latinos in traversing pandemic challenges, including how they maintained emotional closeness and social cohesion, despite physical distancing.
(Moderator: James Garza)
3. Uncovering Racially Restrictive Covenants: Omaha’s Spatial Justice Project
Jeannette Gabriel (UNO), Christina Dando (Professor, UNO), Jennifer Harbour (Associate Professor, UNO)
The Omaha Spatial Justice Project at the University of Nebraska-Omaha is an interdisciplinary research project documenting historic implications of redlining and restrictive covenants. Geographer Ed Soja defines spatial justice as "the fair and equitable distribution in space of socially valued resources and opportunities to use them." Resources and opportunities in the form of property ownership were denied to some Omaha residents through the use of racially restrictive covenants, contractual agreements prohibiting the purchase, lease, or occupation of property by a defined racial or ethnic group. (Moderator Ramón Guerra)
4. Building Right Relationships in Your Community: A Dialogue
Paula Palmer and Jerilyn DeCoteau (Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples)
What would “right relationship” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in our community look like? How can we learn about the Indigenous people — past and present — in our community? What steps can we take to start building right relationship? What are some examples of right relationship? (Moderator: Kevin Abourezk)
1 - 2 p.m. CST: Concurrent session block 2
1. Truth and Reconciliation Process in Lincoln, Neb.
Paul Olson (Professor Emeritus, UNL), Kathleen Rutledge (retired editor, Lincoln Journal Star), Margaret Jacobs (Professor, UNL), Dewayne Mays (President of the Lincoln Branch of the NAACP), Kevin Abourezk (Lincoln Indian Center)
The panel will describe what presenters believe to be a somewhat effective beginning to a "truth and reconciliation project" that began in Nebraska in 2015, one exploring what the history of racism directed against several groups has been in the state and the possible institutional remedies that would work toward reconciliation. (Moderator: Paul Olson)
2. Surviving the Onslaught: 50 Years of Assaults and Persistence — Black Studies and the North Omaha Community
Barbara Hewins-Maroney (Associate Professor, UNO), Cynthia Robinson (Associate Professor, UNO)
2021 is the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Black Studies Department at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Begun during a time of social unrest in the country, the department has weathered attacks on its curriculum and its focus of uplifting the achievements of African Americans. As the department was being organized, the North Omaha community was being assaulted and vilified. The killing of a 14-year-old teenager Vivian Strong by a white Omaha policeman and his acquittal of her murder by an all-white jury sent the black North Omaha community into an uproar. Three days of civil unrest resulted in the destruction of property, arrests, and the entrenchment of black power ideologies throughout the community. Now 50 years later, the UNO Black Studies Department survives but is assaulted by disparate funding strategies, schemes to strip the department of its status, and on-going threats regarding its curriculum and viability. (Moderator: Eric Ewing)
3. In the Shadow of the Sacred: Developing a Lands Statement that Moves Beyond Recognition and Towards Reconciliation
Justin Curtis (Assistant Professor, Chadron State College), Matthew Evertson (Professor, Chadron State College), Shannon Smith (Independent Historian and Executive Director Emeritus, Wyoming Humanities Council), Tishina Mindemann (Instructional Technology and Design Specialist, Chadron State College)
Chadron State College offers many courses and some programs that address the legacy of conflict and abuse in the resettlement of the region. However, CSC does not currently offer any formal acknowledgement or statement of the dispossession of lands and people in the region, or of conflicts past and present worthy of reconciliation. Faculty from Chadron State College will discuss the institution's progress toward creating a land-acknowledgement statement by engaging the many groups in the region impacted by our colonial past and by the present activities of the college. (Moderator Margaret Huettl)
4. Rural Communities
Garret Zastoupil (University of Wisconsin)
Regenerative Communities, Settler Colonialism, Decolonial Futures in North Dakota Coal Country
In the 1970s, the North Plains experienced rapid industrial development through the emergence of coal mining and power production. This growth was precipitated by increased demand on rural electrical cooperatives driven by the dual pressures of suburbanization and industrialized farming. This presentation will present a portion of a study examining how rural residents are (or are not) creating post-coal futures and enacting a just transition on the Northern Plains.
Jess Shoemaker (Professor, UNL) and Anthony Schutz (Professor, UNL)
The Rural Reconciliation Project
This presentation will explore how a reckoning and reconciliation framework might inform broader work on the future of rural people and places, which are now often situated on the losing side of a perceived rural/urban divide. This divide is frequently imagined as situating significant social, economic, political, and racial differences along geographic lines, and dialogue about these differences tend to take on a universalized sense of gospel, without enough room for more nuanced and complex questions about the past, present, and future of rural landscapes and communities.
(Moderator: Peter Longo)
APRIL 8: VIRTUAL
9 a.m. CST: Indigenous Journalism and Cooperative Media, Tristan Ahtone
Reporter Tristan Ahtone will present approaches to Indigenous journalism and cooperative reporting and newsroom organizing as tools to restructure the way journalists operate and subvert long-standing values that rely, and thrive, on racism, colonialism, capitalism, and nationalism.
Ahtone is a member of the Kiowa Tribe and is Editor at Large at Grist. He previously served as Editor in Chief at the Texas Observer and Indigenous Affairs editor at High Country News. He has reported for Al Jazeera America, PBS NewsHour, National Native News, NPR and National Geographic. Ahtone's stories have won multiple honors, including investigative awards from the Gannett Foundation and Public Radio News Directors Incorporated. He additionally led the High Country News team that received a George Polk Award, an IRE Award, a Sigma Award, a Society of News Design Award and a National Magazine Award nomination. A past president of the Native American Journalists Association, Ahtone is a 2017 Nieman Fellow and a director of the Muckrock Foundation.
10:30 - 11:30 a.m. CST: Concurrent session block 1
1. Conciliation as Curatorial Methodology
Tarah Hogue (Curator (Indigenous Art) at Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada), Adrian Stimson (Artist, Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation), Ernie Walker (Professor, University of Saskatchewan)
This roundtables features perspectives from the Northern Plains on the work of (re)conciliation in collaborative, cross-disciplinary, and cross-cultural contexts. In September 2021, Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation artist Adrian Stimson was artist-in-residence at Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon, Canada. Wanuskewin is a significant cultural gathering place and archaeological site comprising aspects of habitation and spirituality. In 2019, Wanuskewin reintroduced buffalo and a calf was born during Stimson's residency. In April 2022, an exhibition of Stimson's work, including new works arising from the residency, will be mounted at Remai Modern in Saskatoon. The confluence of activities—archaeological, ecological and cultural—that Wanuskewin enables will ground a discussion of the work of (re)conciliation across an arts and science context. (Moderator: Annika Johnson)
2. Memories and Counter-Memories of Settler Colonial Violence
Jeffrey Shepherd (Professor, University of Texas at El Paso)
Racial Violence, Settler Colonial Memory Making, and Indigenous Views on the Washita "Battlefield" National Historic Site
As locations of public memory, our national monuments, memorials, and historic sites hold great promise as spaces of reconciliation and healing. Far too often, however, the narratives they foreground privilege settler-colonial visions of the past that justify conquest and Indigenous dispossession from aboriginal homelands. In doing so, these public sites of history perpetuate another form of violence in the present, by silencing the pain and suffering of Indigenous peoples caused by their erasure in dominant national histories.
(Moderator: Tom Lynch)
3. Treaty Rights and Frontline Resistance
Keshia Talking Waters De Freece Lawrence (Ramapough Lenape International Law scholar) and Isabella Knife (Indigenous Activist from the Ihanktonwan Dakota Nation, of the Feather Necklace Tiospaye)
This presentation will discuss, and layout the treaty history of the so-called United States with Indigenous nations, and examine this history in relation to international law, self-determination, ecocide, environmental sovereignty and indigenous autonomy. Presenters will also discuss the current stance of 'Blockadia,' the international environmental justice movement happening across Turtle Island. In addition, this presentation will critique climate change education systems, and the lack of transparency presented towards Indigenous nations with regards to land and water uses, and STEM research. (Moderator: Chris Steinke)
4. Chicano Mexican American Veterans
Marty Ramirez, Greg Rodriguez, Joe Perez, Gavino Saldivar (all Vietnam Era, Veteran, community activists)
Veterans Day and Memorial Day are celebrated annually throughout our country and while these days honor veterans who served, little has been done to recognize the contributions of Chicano/Mexican American veterans from the Scottsbluff/North Platte Valley in western Nebraska. Many veterans come from humble beginnings and from a culture where patriotism was strong, which led many to serve. The history of Chicano/Mexican American in the military has been excluded from the historical consciousness of the country. (Moderator: Laura Muñoz)
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CST: What Would Land Back Look Like at UNL?, Margaret Huettl (Assistant Professor UNL)
Dr. Margaret Huettl, Dr. Luis Othoniel Rosa (Associate Professor of Modern Languages and Ethnic Studies, UNL), Samantha Byrd (UNL undergraduate, Chickasaw), Nasia Olson-Whitefeather (UNL undergraduate, UNITE president, Anishinaabe)
This conversation considers the entanglements and possibilities of land, resources, and reconciliation at UNL. Beginning with context about UNL's history as a land grant university funded in part by the ongoing appropriation of Indigenous lands and resources, Huettl and her fellow panelists from across the university will discuss what it might look like to re-found the university on reciprocity and reconciliation rooted in the land itself.
1 - 2 p.m. CST: Concurrent session block 2
1. Indigenous Art, Film, and Media
Todd Richardson (Professor, UNO)
Indigenous Pop Art and Reckoning with Settler Colonialism
An exhibition featuring the artistic work of Tom Farris (Otoe-Missouria/Cherokee) will open at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in spring 2022. This will be the first time Farris's work, which challenges static notions of Indigenous culture by blending traditional and pop mythologies together, is shown in Nebraska. This is notable because Nebraska is ancestral home to the Otoe and Farris is a member of the Otoe-Missouri Tribe, yet he has never before set foot in the state. In April 2022, Dina Gilio-Whitaker will visit UNO in conjunction with this exhibition of Farris's work. Author of As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock, Gilio-Whitaker will address the ethics of living on stolen land, providing another opportunity for reckoning with the settler colonialism of the Great Plains. Richardson will discuss both of these events in the context of how Indigenous Pop Art and the Indigenization of pop mythologies offer unique opportunities for reckoning with colonial violence.
George De Medts (Aix-Marseille University, France)
Truth as Weapon and Medicine in Georgina Lightning's Older than America
Older than America (2008) written, produced, directed and starred by Canadian Cree filmmaker, Georgina Lightning, focuses on the devastating consequences of trauma caused by the Native boarding school system in North America. Dedicated to the director's father and inspired by his personal story, the film looks at the young victims of psychological, physical and sexual abuses practiced in these institutions. However, Older than America is not a period drama retelling the story. Instead, Georgina Lightning places the action of her suspense drama in the present, in order to underline the trauma's intergenerational impact. Permeated with Native spirituality, Older than America exemplifies how art could help in healing from the wounds caused by the decades of violence, forced acculturation and assimilation by bringing awareness about the truth and promoting Indigenous traditions.
Clementine Bordeaux (University of California, Los Angeles)
AIM and the Politics of Nostalgia: Indigenous Representation from Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Founded in 1968, the American Indian Movement is a source of complicated nostalgia for Indigenous activists today. AIM orchestrated many actions that remain instructive touchstones, including the 1973 occupation at Wounded Knee, but the organization has also been characterized by a masculinism often found in its iconography. During the 2016 #NoDAPL mobilization, common invocations of AIM by mainstream media revealed the contrast between these moments of struggle. Analyzing this contrast through the visual record, Bordeaux argues that a dual nostalgia for AIM presents an opportunity to work through the colonial imposition of hetero-patriarchal norms. Current Indigenous media-makers have begun the work to demonstrate emancipatory gender politics that provide an elaboration of Indigenous representations of relationality, attesting to the connection between feminist, queer, and other-than-human kinship. Foregrounding the importance of tribal specificity, the author focuses on media produced on and of Lakota tribal homelands.
(Moderator: Rebekka Schlichting)
2. Settler Colonial Memoirs
Bernard Flaman (Royal Architectural Institute of Canada)
Ready-Made Farms on the Canadian Prairie Through the Lens of Reconciliation
In the 1980's, my father added the last plot of land to our family farm in Saskatchewan and it came with a compelling abandoned house. It was a ready-made farm constructed circa 1912 by the William Pearson Co of Winnipeg. The company archive consists only of maps, marketing brochures and several boxes of glass slides. This material was used to market property via "land seeker" excursions originating in Minneapolis to mainly American settlers, in a voracious pursuit of land and profit. This presentation will review these items in the light of reconciliation and as an illustration of what was mistakenly construed as terra nullius. What might be portrayed as a triumphant settlement story, must now be viewed as one that came at great expense and suffering to indigenous peoples.
Lily Nagengast (Georgetown University)
Heartland and Plains Women
Sarah Smarsh's Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth is the latest work in the burgeoning genre of rural memoir. Published in 2018, Smarsh's memoir recounts her upbringing as a fifth-generation Kansas wheat farmer and the child of generations of teenage mothers. Alongside her family's narrative of struggle on the Great Plains, Smarsh maps out the destruction of the working class wrought by public policy. Despite Heartland's success, no scholarship exists on it, and little scholarship exists on rural literature in general. This presentation situates itself in this significant gap in American literary studies. Instead of casting rural women's memoir as a subgenre of women's memoir, I place the two side-by-side to see where they intersect, rub against each other, and where they vastly differ.
Tom Lynch (Professor, UNL)
Eco-memoir, Bioregionalism, and Uncanny Settler Belonging in Jerry Wilson's Waiting for Coyote's Call
Environmentally attuned people of settler ancestry often feel they lack a deep belonging to place. Bioregionalism developed out of such circumstances. This paper examines the role of the bioregional eco-memoir as a sometimes problematic settler colonial response to this condition. Early bioregional thinkers drew inspiration from Indigenous peoples and bioregional texts evince a palpable envy for the deep connections Indigenous people have, and these members of settler cultures wish they had, with their local ecology. At the same time as these memoirs seek a form of settler belonging that is environmentally responsible, however, they nevertheless often recirculate tropes of pioneering settlement and often struggle to meaningfully engage with the Indigenous displacement from the very lands to which they themselves are seeking to belong.
(Moderator: Melissa Homestead)
3. The History of Las Voces / How Latino/a Immigrants Came to Nebraska
Marty Ramirez (retired psychologist), Rebecca Gonzalez (community activist), Yolanda Nuncio (community activist), Maria Elena Villasante (doctoral student, behavioral health consultant/community activist), Olga Kanne (community activist)
Historically, the question of how immigrants came to Nebraska has been a point of interest. With the recent discussion on immigration reform, this question from a historical perspective has ignited a renewed discussion. How Mexicans and other Latinos arrived to Nebraska has generated little attention. Thus a "Latino Voice" has been invisible, silent and forgotten. In 2018, a few Latinos began to organize a group, LAS VOCES, (The Voices) to once again address current and past issues facing Latinos throughout Nebraska. The mission of Las Voces is to advocate and inspire positive change in the Latino/Hispanic community of Nebraska by addressing social justice issues through leadership, civic engagement, and collaboration. (Moderator: Michelle Warren)
Clementine Bordeaux, a doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles, is a Sicangu Lakota Oyate tribal member and was raised on the Pine Ridge Reservation located in South Dakota. Bordeaux received a master’s degree (2011) from the University of Washington, Seattle, through the Native Voices Indigenous documentary film program and an undergraduate degree (2006) in Theatre from Carthage College.
Dr. Ethan Bottone is an Assistant Professor of Geography in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Northwest Missouri State University. He received his Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Tennessee in 2020. Dr. Bottone is interested in forms of “Just” tourism, particularly accessible tourism and indigenous heritage. In terms of accessible tourism, he works to understand how people with disabilities are represented (or more accurately, excluded) in tourism promotional materials and physical spaces. His work also seeks to understand how the history and spaces of American Indian removal, particularly sites of violence, are interpreted and remembered.
Dr. Justin Curtis, Assistant Professor, Chadron State College Social Sciences Program focusing on Political Science, U.S. Politics, Government and Economics, International Politics and Civic Engagement. He has also researched and written about the History of the Middle East and is introducing a new course at CSC focusing on Islam and Politics.
Dr. Lory Dance is an associate professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies at UNL. She focuses her research on displaced persons and cross-national comparisons of racial and ethnic minority youths' experiences with schooling.
Dr. Christina Dando is the Department Chair and Associate Professor of the Geology/Geography Department at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Jerilyn DeCoteau, is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. She serves as Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of the Pueblo de San Ildefonso and has helped them create and develop a Judicial Branch under their new constitution. As a lawyer, she has pressed for the rights of Indian tribes to govern themselves, control their resources and insure human rights for their members. She has worked at the Native American Rights Fund and the U.S. Department of Justice, litigating treaty, fishing, land and water rights. She served as Director of the Indian Law Clinic for the University of Colorado law school, as counsel for her tribe and has taught law courses at the University of Denver and Yale law schools and at the Turtle Mountain Tribal Community College.
Georges De Medts is a doctoral student in languages in foreign literature with a topic of Self-representation and visual sovereignty in Native American cinema from the United States and Canada at Aix-Marseille University, France.
Dr. Cristián Doña-Reveco is Director of the Office for Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS) and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He researches migration decisions, migration policy in Latin America's Southern Cone, and the relations between the nation-state and migrants. At OLLAS, his research includes projects on the impact of crisis; the development of a culture of fear; and the role of community organizations on Omaha's Latino community.
Dr. Matthew Evertson, Professor, Chadron State College English and Humanities Program focusing on literature of the American West, Native American Literature, Great Plains/Regional Studies and Environmental Humanities. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society.
Bernard Flaman holds degrees in art history from the University of Saskatchewan, architecture from the University of Toronto and is a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. He works as a conservation architect for the Government of Canada. His publication and curatorial work focus on Canadian modernist architecture. His book "Architecture of Saskatchewan" received the 2014 distinguished book prize from the Center for Great Plains Studies. He has worked on multiple contemporary and conservation projects. His current interests focus on the connection between conservation and sustainable design and an inclusive approach to heritage conservation.
Dr. Charles Francis is professor of agronomy and horticulture, teaching in agroecology and land use systems, and conducting research in biodiverse crop rotations at UNL. He is vitally concerned about future of food production in the Midwest, equity of distribution of food and benefits to underserved residents, and long-term preservation of both production and resources to promote rural families and communities.
Dr. Jeannette Gabriel is the Director of the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Dr. Jennifer Harbour is Associate Professor in the Black Studies Department at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Tarah Hogue is Curator (Indigenous Art) at Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada. She is a citizen of the Métis Nation with settler ancestry.
Dr. Margaret Jacobs is the Chancellor's Professor of History at UNL and the director of the Center for Great Plains Studies.
Dr. Hewins-Maroney is an Associate Professor in the Goodrich Scholarship Program and the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska Omaha. Her research focus is on policies and history of African American populations in the West, especially in Nebraska and historical public health in Nebraska.
Dewayne Mays is the President of the Lincoln Branch of the NAACP.
John Mollet (He/Him/His) is a Assiniboine and Nakoda Sioux Master's Candidate in the department of History at San Diego State University. His graduate research focuses on decolonizing cultural hegemony and deconstructing historical narratives surrounding colonial soldiers around the world during World War II and the resulting Cold War, particularly Indigenous troops in the United States and those in the now, non-existent, Dutch East Indies.
Dr. Amelia Montes is an associate professor of English and Ethnic Studies at UNL. Her work engages Chicana/Chicano literature, Latina/Latino literature, LGBT literature, theories of identity, creative writing, fiction, and memoir.
Lily Nagengast is a graduate teaching assistant in the English Department of Georgetown University, where she is earning her master’s degree. She is from Bloomfield, Nebraska, and graduated from Boston College in 2018 with a degree in English and gender studies.
Dr. David Nesheim , Associate Professor, Chadron State College Social Sciences Program focusing on U.S. History, History of the American West, Environmental History and courses in the American Indian Studies program. He is the faculty advisor of the Native American Club. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society.
Dr. Paul Olson is a Professor Emeritus of English (UNL) and former director of the Center for Great Plains Studies.
Paula Palmer is a sociologist, writer, and activist for human rights, social justice, and environmental protection. She co-directs Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples, a program of Friends Peace Teams. With guidance from Native American educators, Paula created workshops titled, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples” (for adults) and “Re-Discovering America: Understanding Colonization” (for middle schools and high schools). She coordinates the work of Native and non-Native facilitators who present these workshops nationwide.
Joe Perez, Vietnam Veteran, community activist
Dr. John Raible is a professor in the Dept. of Teaching, Learning, & Teacher Education at UNL. His work focuses on multicultural education and anti-racism. He currently serves as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion in the College of Education & Human Sciences.
Dr. Marty Ramirez, Vietnam Veteran, community activist
Dr. Todd Richardson is a James R. Schumacher Chair of Ethics and Professor in the Goodrich Scholarship Program. Richardson's writing has appeared in a variety of popular and academic publications, most notably The Journal of American Folklore, The Writer's Chronicle, and The Omaha Reader. His co-authored book Implied Nowhere: Absence in Folklore was recently published by the University of Mississippi Press. He is the founder and editor of Louise Pound: A Folklore and Literature Miscellany.
Dr. Cynthia Robinson is the Chair of the Department of Black Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She is also an Associate Professor of Black Studies and Communication. Her research interests are race and discrimination and their impact on underrepresented and marginalized populations.
Greg Rodriguez, Vietnam Era, Veteran, community activist
Kathleen Rutledge is the retired editor of the Lincoln Journal Star newspaper.
Gavino Saldivar, Vietnam Veteran, community activist
Dr. Thomas Sanchez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a faculty member of the Office of Latino and Latin American Studies (OLLAS). He conducts research on ethnic identity formation and the incorporation of Latino immigrants to places like Schuyler, Nebraska. His teaching interests include Chicano and Latino studies and sociological theory.
Dr. Anthony Schutz is a Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law who has taught courses in Agricultural Law, Environmental Law, Water Law, Land Use Regulation, State and Local Government Law, and Contracts. He is currently serving as the Associate Dean for Faculty, which he began in 2020. He is the faculty advisor for the Agricultural and Environmental Law Society, moot court, and Nebraska Connections. The latter role is related to the Rural Law Opportunities Program, which Professor Schutz also leads.
Dr. Jeffrey P. Shepherd is a Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Texas at El Paso. The author of two books, Shepherd is presently working on a manuscript tentatively titled "Racial Violence, Settler Colonial Memory Making, and Indigenous Views on the Washita “Battlefield” National Historic Site." His research interests focus on Indigenous Peoples of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, Environmental History, the U.S. West, Public History, and Historical Memory.
Dr. Jessica Shoemaker is Professor of Law at the University of Nebraska College of Law. She has been recognized both nationally and internationally for her work on adaptive change in pluralistic land-tenure systems, as well as property law’s power to shape the contours of human communities and natural environments. Her work focuses specifically on issues of racial justice and agricultural sustainability in the American countryside and on systems of Indigenous land tenure and land governance in the United States and Canada.
Shannon Smith, former Executive Director and CEO of Wyoming Humanities, the state's affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and a former faculty member at Oglala Lakota College. Her company, Smithstorian Consulting, LLC supports public humanities and cultural projects focusing on American Indian education and heritage preservation.
Dr. Colette Yellow Robe is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and grew up on the Winnebago Reservation in Nebraska. She serves as the Retention Specialist for the SSS program. She received her PhD from UNL.
Adrian Stimson is a multidisciplinary artist from the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta. He was was awarded the Governor General Award for Visual and Media Arts in 2018, and has exhibited nationally and internationally.
Keshia Talking Waters De Freece Lawrence is a Ramapough Lenape International Law scholar and climate activist based in Connecticut, on Pequot territory. She has studied in the field of climate change and international conflict negotiations across Turtle Island, Italy, Australia and Costa Rica.
Dr. Ernie Walker is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan. He is also interested in environmental conservation and preservation, the development of parks and interpretative facilities, and is a founder of Wanuskewin Heritage Park.
Garret Zastoupil is a PhD Candidate in Human Ecology: Civil Society and Community Research at the University of Wisconsin. His research examines how residents of rural and urban sacrifice zones resist exploitation to create socially, economically, and environmentally just futures. His research blends theory and practice from adult education, community economic development, environmental sociology, and community economies. Through his research and teaching processes, he seeks to build power for people through grassroots organizing and coalitions.