University of Rochester

EVENT: Native Voices 2000 Tells of Research, Inspiration Annual feast for the mind focuses on Native American women as leaders

March 13, 2000

A host of presentations and performances celebrating contemporary Native American life and culture will be held March 30 to April 1 on the University of Rochester's River Campus. For the sixth year, Native Voices will provide a forum for Native and non-Native people to exchange ideas, with emphasis on this year's theme of women's leadership in the new millennium.

Internationally known speakers and artists will present their writings and research that looks at Native Americans through new eyes. "We want to raise awareness about Native people in general and for Native people to rejoice in their Indian identity," says Yvonne Bilinski (Navajo), an organizer of Native Voices and assistant director of the Higher Education Opportunity Program at the University of Rochester. "We want to acknowledge the research and contributions of Native people in their fields."

This year, Native Voices is hosted by the University of Rochester and co-sponsored by Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College and the State University College at Brockport. All events are free.

Native Voices stretches beyond the academic to quality entertainment and toward mutual understanding of Native peoples. The program offers an array of nationally recognized speakers who will discuss such topics as barriers to educational success for Native students and nontraditional roles for Native women. Beyond the experts, graduate students who have researched their own cultures also will make presentations. A potluck dinner and traditional Iroquois social will end the symposia Saturday evening, April 1.

The opening concert performance on Thursday, March 30, will present Sharon Burch, whose newest CD, Colors of My Heart, captures the beauty of Navajo living and traditions. Friday night's Alfonso Ortiz Memorial Keynote Presentation will feature the poetry and music of Joy Harjo, Muscogee writer and musician, who plays saxophone with her band, Poetic Justice. Her books of poetry include the award-winning titles In Mad Love and War and The Woman who fell from the Sky. Her writings have been published in many magazines and she has taught at universities in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.

Native Voices 2000 is made possible by the College, the Office of Minority Student Affairs, the Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender and Women's Studies, the Anthony Center for Women's Leadership, and the Arts Committee of the Student Association at the University of Rochester. Additional support comes from Nazareth College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, and the State University College at Brockport. Other financial sponsors are Eastman Kodak Co., Joan and Harold Feinbloom Foundation at the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Native American SUNY Western Consortium, and Friends of Ganondagan Inc.

More information is available at or by calling (585) 275-3157.


Thursday, March 30, Hubbell Auditorium, Hutchison Hall, River Campus

8 to 10 p.m. Performance by Navajo folk singer and songwriter Sharon Burch

Friday, March 31

9 to 11 a.m. "Celluloid Indians." Videos and films by Native American artists with discussion and commentary led by symposia organizers. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. "Surviving Columbus." Award-winning PBS documentary directed and produced by Diane Reyna (Taos Pueblo), which documents the Spanish and Anglo invasion of the homeland of the Pueblo peoples of the Southwest. Reyna will talk about her work on the documentary. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

1:30 to 5 p.m. Native American graduate students present their research. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

8 to 10 p.m. Performance by internationally known Muscogee poet and musician Joy Harjo with special guest poet Rainy Ortiz. 107 Schlegel Hall.

Saturday, April 1

9 to 10:30 a.m. "Building the Base 2000: Educational and Cultural Retention Issues." Beatrice Medicine (Lakota), professor emeritus of anthropology at California State University at Northridge, who has researched Indian women, mental health issues and tribal identity, on Native American culture and education; Lula M. Stago (Navajo), a consultant and trainer with a doctoral degree from Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, on barriers to educational success. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. "Neverland: Native Women in Nontraditional Roles." Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet), founder of Blackfeet National Bank in Montana, the first national bank located in the heart of an American Indian reservation, on financial and legal issues for women; Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D. (Navajo), assistant professor of surgery and associate dean for student and minority affairs at Dartmouth Medical School, on traditional and modern methods of practicing medicine. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

2 to 4 p.m. "Dancing with the Mind: Creative Women." Rosalie M. Jones (Pembina Chippewa), dancer, choreographer, artistic director of DAYSTAR Dancer Company and artist-in-residence at SUNY Brockport, on the challenges of the performing arts; Diane Reyna (Taos Pueblo), artist and filmmaker, on believing in yourself. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

4 to 5 p.m. "A Celebration of Native American Women: Past, Present and Future." Lloyd Elm (Onondaga), founder and former principal of the Native American magnet school in Buffalo, who earned his doctoral degree from Penn State University. Welles-Brown Room, Rush Rhees Library.

5 to 11 p.m. Potluck dinner and traditional Iroquois social. Homemade foods with serving utensils are accepted; cash donations can be made for the Freeman Johnson Scholarship Fund. Eisenhart Auditorium, Rochester Museum & Science Center, 657 East Ave.