American Indian and Alaskan Native Symposium

Written by Christie Webb, senior MDiv student at LSTC

basket 1

It is too bad that every week isn’t American Indian and Alaskan Native Symposium Week! What was it about last week’s symposium that was so very invigorating? The answer is simple: community.

Janelle and Levi (junior MDiv student) begin a basket!

Janelle and Levi (junior MDiv student) begin a basket!

Choogie Kingfisher story-telling with words and music.

Choogie Kingfisher story-telling with words and music.

Our community widened last week to include some very special guests whose presence gathered us in unique ways.

Janelle Adair taught us to make baskets. Now, seminary is full of many good things, but it is not as full as I would like it to be of crafts! Together we learned something new and completely outside of theology. We chatted and laughed as we wove our reeds in and out, a meditative practice with a tangible result.

Gathered together to celebrate the renaming of the symposium in honor of Vine Deloria, Jr.

Gathered together to celebrate the renaming of the symposium in honor of Vine Deloria, Jr.

Choogie Kingfisher told us stories of why dogs sniff each other’s tails when meeting and how the game of stick ball came to be. He united us in laughter.  He brought us the means to play stick ball, girls against boys, rambunctiousness ensued.

But the most profound moment was the Naming Ceremony where the Symposium became the Vine Deloria Symposium, honoring Vine Deloria Jr. a legend who spoke out for the Native American people, a graduate of Augustana Seminary, a predecessor body of LSTC.

To hear from elder Susan Power, Kirke Kickingbird and Father Peter J. Powell, friends of Deloria, as they told his story, honored him, and then recognized with thanks my friend Vance – who continuously works to bring LSTC to deeper understandings of our Native brothers and sisters – made it a night I won’t soon forget.

Ahhh, life in community!

Held from November 12-14th, the American Indian and Alaskan Native Symposium (now Vine Deloria Symposium) was organized by many members of the LSTC community, led by Vance Blackfox and through the support of the Pero Multicultural Center.
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