In July the Pokagon Band welcomed Wen Peihong, a Chinese scholar currently completing a translation of Simon Pokagon’s 1899 novel Queen of the Woods into Mandarin Chinese. Wen learned more about the people and culture while meeting with the tribal archivist, interviewing Pokagon tradition bearers, and observing a language class.A professor at China’s Southwest University for Nationalities, Wen researches indigenous and ethnic minorities and their cultural preservation and revival efforts.
Dr. John Low, a Pokagon Band citizen and professor at Ohio State University, met Wen at an international conference on ethnic minority languages and invited her to his Potawatomi community.
Wen spent the last year visiting and studying in the U.S. and meeting with other native communities. Translating Queen of the Woods is complicated, as each Chinese symbol represents syllables in English words. Wen and her colleague, Aku WuWu, a poet who writes in the Yi language, are very interested in preservation and promotion of Yi, and in Native Americans as an ethic minority. WuWu is the author of Coyote Traces, a book Wen helped translate about the Yi and the indigenous people of American and the interconnections between cultures and languages.
“Leading members from the Oneida Nation, Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and United Houma Nation of Louisiana discuss vital issues of tribal citizenship in Indian Country. By exploring topics such as constitutional reform, tribal enrollment, blood quantum, and descendancy, the speakers discuss the many different ways Native tribes and nations define, grant, and express indigenous citizenship.”
The Tribal Education Departments National Assembly (TEDNA) through collaboration with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi is hosting the 2018 TEDNA Regional Conference on Education Sovereignty and Data, will be held from April 10-11th, and on the 12th is the TEDNA Annual Board meeting and Michigan Tribal Education Directors meeting, at New Buffalo, Michigan. The conference is a unique chance to meet different leaders and practitioners in the field of education sovereignty focused on: data collection, implementation, and sharing innovative practices. All attendees will examine research and development of how Tribal Education Departments organize and analyze their education data. Our goal is that every attendee will walk away with policy insights, identification of critical challenges, and foster a solution-based collaboration to improve data quality and result in an increased capacity over tribal education data.
I had the honor to be the keynote speaker for National Native American Heritage Month celebrations at Wright State University, the Ohio National Guard, and Defiance College this month. At each venue I was impressed with the desire of the audiences to learn more about the indigenous peoples of the United States.
I was also interviewed by Michigan Public Radio for their program “Stateside with Cynthia Canty.” broadcast in Ann Arbor (the statewide NPR affiliate). Stateside includes a Michigan History Center (MHC) production of a weekly Michigan History segment. With November being Native American History month, the folks at the Michigan History Center and the station wanted to do a couple of history segments focusing on Native Michiganders. I joined Cynthia and the MHC’s Sandra Clark to discuss the story of Leopold Pokagon and how decisions he made in the 1800s still impact lives today. Here is a link to the program:
I also had the opportunity to participate in the symposium “Collaborative Curation of North American Human Remains.” at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago this month. Participants included museum professional and tribal nation representatives, as well as those like myself who have written about and/or engaged in repatriation efforts. While it was obvious to me that there is much work to yet be done to get everyone on the same page, I was heartened by the sincere effort that everyone made to listen to the views and suggestions of others. Special thanks to Helen Robbins from the Field Museum for inviting me!