CSU, Chico News

2011 Annual California Indian Conference to Celebrate ‘Sustaining the Circle of Knowledge’

Date: 09-01-2011

Melissa McGowan
Regional & Continuing Education
Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

The 2011 Annual California Indian Conference will be held Oct. 27-30 on the California State University, Chico campus. The theme of this year’s conference is "Sustaining the Circle of Knowledge." There will be a wide diversity of presentations, workshops and performances, along with a number of special events, including a California Native basketry exhibit and master weavers demonstration at the Chico Museum, a Native fine art display at the Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology, an opportunity to tour the California State Indian Museum in Sacramento and a tour of the campus arboretum led by biologist Wes Dempsey.

“The Northeast Information Center, a long-time advocate for historic preservation, is honored to be coordinating the 26th annual California Indian Conference,” said Amy Huberland of the Northeast Information Center, part of the Department of Anthropology at CSU, Chico. “The conference planning committee, working with representatives from local Indian tribes, faculty, staff and students and the larger Chico community, has put together a one-of-a-kind event representing California Indian culture and contemporary issues.”

The conference will open on the evening of Oct. 27 with a reception in the Creekside Plaza followed by a benefit concert featuring John Trudell and Bad Dog at the El Rey Theatre in downtown Chico. The Friday conference program will include an opening ceremony featuring the Tyme Maidu Bald Rock dancers and a color guard of California Indian veterans; a series of short autobiographical films of California Indians (digital stories); lunch hosted by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation; and a Native American Fine Art display and reception.

Friday evening, dinner will be hosted by the Mechoopda Indian Tribe and will include entertainment by Grindstone Rancheria and Eastern Pomo traditional dancers. “As the first people whose ancestral lands encompass the city of Chico and the California State University, Chico campus,” said a conference host, Sandra Knight, vice chairperson of the Mechoopda Indian Tribe, “the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria is extremely pleased to take part in the 2011 Annual California Indian Conference. We look forward to celebrating ‘Sustaining the Circle of Knowledge’ with all of the conference participants.”

Saturday will feature a number of presentations and workshops on topics such as cultural awareness and preservation, language revitalization, indigenous health and justice and environmental issues. Organized sessions include Equal Access to Education, Native California Featherwork and Who Are We Now? Defining Native Identity. Presentations range from Dance the Wheels of Diversity in Education to Karuk Tribal Library: Connecting Collections with the Community to Weaving to Remember: Coastal Southern California Indian Basket Weavers and their Stories. A youth track for high school students will feature a youth empowerment workshop by the California Native rap band River Boyz and a kayak tour of the Sacramento River focused on riparian ecology and led by geography professor Donald Hankins.

Now in its 26th year, the California Indian Conference has been held on university campuses throughout California, including CSU, East Bay, San Francisco State University and Sonoma State University. CSU, Chico is pleased to be the site of this year’s event.

“Hosting the 2011 California Indian Conference provides an excellent platform for the University to continue building its partnership with the Native American community, not only with our local tribes, but also with tribes from across the state,” commented Gayle E. Hutchinson, dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at CSU, Chico. “We are honored that the Chico community was selected to host this important conference and look forward to deepening our relationship with tribal leaders and members who will be attending.”

Conference details, including the most up-to-date schedule and online registration for the 2011 California Indian Conference can be found on the conference website at http://rce.csuchico.edu/conferences/2011-california-indian-conference/. Registration is $50 for adults and $20 for CSU, Chico students and youth aged 14-18. It includes access to all sessions and workshops, meals and evening entertainment. If you are interested in supporting the 2011 California Indian Conference or would like additional information, contact Amy Huberland at ahuberland@csuchico.edu or 530-898-5438.