CSU, Chico News

One-Day California Indian Conference Continues Dialogue

Date: 09-18-2012

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs
Amy Huberland
Northeast Information Center

Sustaining the Circle of Knowledge: California Indian Voices in Education and Film is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28 on the California State University, Chico campus. The conference grew directly out of the 2011 California Indian Conference. It will focus on youth and education in the morning and on Californian Indian voices in film in the afternoon.

“The Department of Anthropology and the University would like to continue the dialogue that took place at last year’s conference,” said Amy Huberland, assistant coordinator of the Northeast Information Center. “It’s important to keep connections with tribes and other conference attendees. Last year’s conference was extremely successful in terms of the attendance of numerous tribes and everyone’s participation in discussion topics pertinent to California Indians.”

This year’s conference specifically targets youth, aged 15–25, educators and those who oversee the education departments of tribes, particularly in the North State.

Gary McMahon, director of the Chico Student Success Center, believes the conference will provide an opportunity to listen to tribal views on education. CSSC, a collaborative student development program for diversity recruitment and retention, is working with Enrollment Management at CSU, Chico to create the Higher Education Tribal Council. He is very interested in being a participant in the conference.

“I look forward to hearing about the challenges, the successes and available resources for Native American Youth. I’d like to hear about what young Native Americans think about Higher Education and where it fits into their lives,” said McMahon. “It is as important for us to hear what we should not do as about what we should do as we work to attract more youth to higher education.”

To this end, in the morning session, there will be a youth panel made up of Native American youth, many of them from Ipakanni School near Oroville. Panelists will respond to questions about their lives, their hopes for the future, college aspirations and the importance of sustaining tribal culture. All of the students from Ipakanni will attend the conference.

In addition to the youth panel in the morning, Paul Cason will be leading a session titled “New Methods in Language Revitalization.” Cason is a Maidu tribal member from the Oroville area with great enthusiasm for the Maidu language. He has been leading Maidu language classes for the past several years.

Three films will be premiered in the afternoon: "A Man Called Ishi," “California Indian Voices” and “Bound to Tradition.” Each film focuses on a different aspect of California Indian culture. "A Man Called Ishi" is about the historical circumstances surrounding Ishi's appearance in Oroville in 1911 and also about the efforts to repatriate his remains.

"California Indian Voices," directed by Jesse Dizard, professor in the Department of Anthropology, presents contemporary California Indian perspectives regarding cultural sustainability, tradition, the environment, substance abuse and what it means to be an Indian person in the 21st century. Many of those interviewed attended the conference last year.

"Bound to Tradition" is about a Mountain Maidu woman who is making a customary and traditional cradleboard for her first grandchild. It is about the difficulties of balancing traditional ways with modern life.

The conference is open to all, but coordinators request those planning to attend RSVP by emailing Huberland at ahuberland@csuchico.edu or calling 530-898-5438.