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Native American Rhetorical Traditions

An introduction to Native American historical speeches and contemporary debates.

Contemporary Speech

CLYDE WARRIOR

"We are not free. We do not make choices. Our choices are made for us."

As a founding member of the National Indian Youth Council, Clyde Merton Warrior (1939-1968) was a longtime activist recognized for his dedication to Indigenous liberation and impactful rhetoric. He was a member of the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma and spoke the Ponca language. Clyde Warrior was an ardent proponent for Indian self-determination. In addition to founding the NIYC in the early 1960s, he participated in the March on Washington. In 1966, he graduated from Northeastern State University. Two years later, in 1968, he passed away. Clyde Warrior’s work paved the way for generations of Indigenous activists to come.

Speech: 

 

DENNIS BANKS

"An awareness reached across America that if Native American people had to resort to arms at Wounded Knee, there must really be something wrong."

Dennis Banks (Ojibwe, 1937–2017) was a Native American activist, teacher, and author. He co-founded and led the American Indian Movement. He participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island and, in 1972, assisted in the organization of the “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a caravan of activist groups to Washington, D.C. to call attention to the plight of Native Americans. Under Banks’ leadership, AIM led a protest in Custer, South Dakota against judicial proceedings that reduced the charges of a white man for murdering a Native American. As a result of involvement in Custer and Wounded Knee, Banks and 300 others were arrested. Acquitted of the Wounded Knee charges, Banks was convicted of incitement to riot at Custer and served 18 months. In August 2016, he received the vice-presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party.

Speech:

 

ANNIE MAE AQUASH

“I'm Indian all the way and always will be. I'm not going to stop fighting until I die, and I hope I'm a good example of a human being and of my tribe.

Annie Mae Aquash (1945 –1975) was a First Nations activist and Mi'kmaq tribal member from Nova Scotia, Canada. In the 1960s she moved to Boston and joined other First Nations and Indigenous Americans activists. She was involved in the American Indian Movement and participated in several occupations, including the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties and the 1973 Wounded Knee incident. On February 24, 1976, Aquash's body was found in Wanblee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Aquash appeared to have been murdered by an execution-style gunshot. After decades of investigation, in March 2003, Arlo Looking Cloud and John Graham were indicted and received life sentences for her murder.

Speech:

 

RUSSELL MEANS

“I don't want to be civilized. I want to be liberated.”

Russell Means (Ogala Lakota, 1939- 2012) was the first National Director of the American Indian Movement and ardent activist for Indigenous rights on a global scale. He actively participated in both national and local politics, finding himself on the libertarian presidential ticket, the Oglala Sioux presidential ticket, and that for governor of New Mexico. Much of his work brought to light the American government’s breaking of treaties with Native Americans, and he tireless collaborated in community organization projects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota. In addition to his activism and political career, Means was also a writer and actor.

Speech:

 

WAZIYATAWIN

"Colonialism is the massive fog that has clouded our imaginations regarding who we could be, excised our memories of who we once were, and numbed our understanding of our current existence."

Angela Lynn Cavender was born February 13, 1968, in Virginia, MN and grew up both on and off the Upper Sioux reservation. In 2007 she legally changed her name to Waziyatawin, a name an elder gave her as a child and which means "woman of the north." She earned a double major in history and American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota and then completed master's and doctoral degrees in history at Cornell University. She has published and co-edited six books exploring Indigenous decolonization methods, recovering Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous women’s resistance. As an activist, Waziyatawin gained public attention in 2007 when she was arrested multiple times while protesting the Minnesota sesquicentennial celebration.

Speech:

 

WINONA LADUKE

"There is no social-change fairy. There is only change made by the hands of individuals.

Winona LaDuke is a celebrated and outspoken activist who works to bring attention and mitigate issues pertaining to environmentalism and Indigenous rights. She is a co-founder of the Indigenous Women’s Network, which seeks to promote sovereignty for Native women. Recently, she participated in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and Sandpiper Pipeline, and she is currently the director of Honor the Earth, an organization that promotes sustainable Native communities. She has a B.A. from Harvard and a M.A. from Antioch University.

Speech:

 

DAVID ARCHAMBAULT

David Archambault has been an instrumental figure in organizing the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and mobilizing national support for Native American rights and environmentalism. He often speaks to the press about the history of Indigenous treaties and rights and remains critical of America’s push for “energy independence,” reliance on oil, and treatment of Indigenous peoples. In his capacity as the tribal chairman of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota (2013-2017), he appeared before the U.S. Congress and United Nations Human Rights Council to advocate for issues relating to Native treaties and sovereignty.

Speech:

 

NICK ESTES

Indigenous resistance is not a one-time event. It continually asks: What proliferates in the absence of empire? Thus, it defines freedom not as the absence of settler colonialism, but as the amplified presence of Indigenous life and just relations with human and nonhuman relatives, and with the earth.” (Our History is the Future, p. 248)

Nick Estes is a professor of American history at the University of New Mexico where he teaches global Indigenous histories and colonialism. He co-founded The Red Nation in 2014, an organization that seeks to liberate Indigenous peoples through unified activism and resistance. Estes often writes about racism and Native resistance for popular media outlets and has been awarded several awards for his work. He is a member of the Oak Lakes Writers Society, which promotes the development of Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota cultural writings. He is a citizen of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe and member of the Oceti Sakowin Oyate Nation.

Speech:

 

TARA HOUSKA

Tara Houska (Couchiching First Nation Anishinaabe) is a tribal attorney, the Campaigns Director of Honor the Earth, and a former advisor on Native American affairs to Bernie Sanders. She spent six months on the frontlines fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline and is currently engaged in the movement to defund fossil fuels and a years-long struggle against Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. She is a co-founder of Not Your Mascots, a non-profit committed to eradicating Native stereotyping

Speech:

  • The Standing Rock resistance and our fight for indigenous rights. November 2017.  TEDWomen Video below.

 

WiNONA LADUKE

Winona LaDuke is a celebrated and outspoken activist who works to bring attention and mitigate issues pertaining to environmentalism and Indigenous rights. She is a co-founder of the Indigenous Women’s Network, which seeks to promote sovereignty for Native women. Recently, she participated in protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline and Sandpiper Pipeline, and she is currently the director of Honor the Earth, an organization that promotes sustainable Native communities. She has a B.A. from Harvard and a M.A. from Antioch University.

Speech

  • Water & Food. Keynote at Smithsonian, 2020. Video below.

 

  • Seeds The Creator Gave Us. Presentation at the 2007 Bioneers National Conference in San Rafael, CA. Video below.

 

LADONNA BRAVE BULL ALLARD
 

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard (Stading Rock Sioux) is a Native American historian and activist. She is the tribe’s former historic preservation officer and current historian and genealogist. She was among the first to organized the resistance camps of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in the spring of 2016 in order to stop the pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Speeches

 

DAVID ARCHAMBAULT

  • Water at Risk. A Tribal Leader's Perspective. Keynote Address. 2017. Video below.

 

CHIEF ARVOL LOOKING HORSE

Arvol Looking Horse was born on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota in 1954.  Throughout his life, Chief Looking Horse has worked towards religious freedom, cultural survival and revival. In 1993, he traveled to New York for the United Nations "Cry of the Earth" Conference where he did the opening prayer.  The Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization invited him to Holland, Netherlands to pray for peace and unity in 1995. In 1996, Chief Looking Horse was awarded the Canadian Wolf Award, given to a person who has dedicated their life to working for Peace. Chief Looking Horse has also assisted in retrieving the remains of the ancestors from museums such as the Smithsonian and continues working towards the retrieval of sacred bundles and human remains in an effort to bring respect and ritual rites back to the sacred.

Speech

  • Prophecies, World Peace, and Global Healing, 17 October 2016. Video below. 

 

CHIEF OREN LYONS

Oren Lyons is a recognized Indigenous rights and environmental justice activist who fights for Native rights on a global scale. Often discussing pressing issues such as land use and protection, Oren’s speeches are marked by the application of traditional natural knowledge to pressing current issues. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1958, where he was noted as an All-American lacrosse player. In the 1960s, he joined the Red Power Movement and continued forth with his activism. He is a member of the Onondaga and Seneca nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and a Faithkeeper for the Wolf Clan for the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

  • "Mother Earth Call to Consciousness On Climate Change," 2008. Keynote Address. Smithsonian. Video below.

 

TOM B.K. GOLDTOOTH

Tom B.K. Goldtooth (Dine, b. 1953) is a Native American environmental and economic justice activist, speaker, film producer, and Indigenous rights leader. He is active in local, national and international levels and advocates for healthy and sustainable Indigenous communities built on Indigenous traditional knowledge. He has served as executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) since 1996.

Speeches:

  • Indigenous Environmental Justice. The 2001 Bioneers National Conference.
  • Stopping the Privatization of Nature.  The 2013 Bioneers National Conference. Video below.

 

DINA GILIO-WHITAKER

Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes) is scholar, educator, journalist, and author in American Indian studies, and an independent consultant in environmental justice policy planning.  She has worked with Indigenous governments helping them to formulate policy strategies and work cooperatively with federal and state governments and in other collaborative organizational partnerships. As a public intellectual, she contributes to many online outlets including Indian Country Today, the Los Angeles Times, High Country News and others.

Speeches

  • Supreme Court oral argument: McGirt v. Oklahoma (11 May 2020). Teleconference.

The case concerns states versus federal criminal jurisdiction on Indian lands.

  • Supreme Court Decision in Lewis v. Clarke (3 May 2017). Webinar hosted by National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund.

 

WILLIAM HENSLEY

William L. "Willie" Hensley (born June 17, 1941), also known by his Iñupiaq name Iġġiaġruk, is a semi-retired Democratic politician known for his work regarding Native Alaskan land rights. Hensley played a critical role in the creation of the Alaskan Native Claim Settlement (ANCS) of 1971, one of the biggest and most important land claims for native people in US history. Hensley went on to serve a term on the Alaska House of Representatives (1967–1970), then a four-year term in the Alaska Senate (1971–1974). Hensley served another year on the Alaskan Senate from 1987 to 1988. He helped form the Alaskan Natives Federation and served as its co-chairman, executive director and President. He is also a founder of Maniilaq, a not-for-profit organization that provides essential services for the tribes of Northwest Alaska

Speech:

 

ELOUISE COBELL

Elouise Cobell’s (1945- 2011) career was marked by her tendency to fight for Native economic justice. As treasurer for the Blackfeet Tribe and founder of the Blackfeet National Bank, she began noticing that the federal government was mishandling Indian trust funds. When initial requests and petitions did not success, Cobell and her team of lawyers — including the Native American Rights Fund — filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of the Interior, which resulted in a settlement of the largest class action lawsuit in the U.S. history. Cobell tirelessly worked to reform the banking system, and in 2016 she was awarded a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Speech:

  • Testimony On The Special Trustee's Strategic Plan Before The Senate Committee On Indian Affairs. (1997). 
  • Panel Discussion of Cobell v Norton. Panelists: Elouise Cobell, Keith Harper, Tex G. Hall, Tom Daschle (moderator).  (11 April 2006)(C-SPAN). 

 

ARLINDA LOCKLEAR

Arlinda Locklear (born 1951) is an American lawyer of Native American origin from the Lumbee tribe. Locklear is noted as an expert in Native American law and tribal recognition litigation. In 1983, Locklear became the first Native American woman to argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. In the case of Solem v. Barlett, Locklear successfully defended the right of the Sioux people to try their own residents for crimes committed on reservation territory. Two years later, Locklear successfully argued the case of Oneida Indian Nation v. County of Oneida, leading the Supreme Court to decide that the State of New York had wrongfully taken possession of lands belonging to the Oneida tribe. From June 2016 to December 2017, Locklear was among 12 contemporary Native American women leaders who had their stories featured in an exhibition at the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian.

Speech:

  • “Tribal Land Claims: A Generation of Federal Indian Law on the Edge. (November 2011). Video embedded below.

 

 

WALTER ECHO-HAWK

Walter Echo-Hawk talked about his book, In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native America and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

ZITKÁLA-ŠÁ

“For untold ages the Indian race had not used family names. A new-born child was given a brand-new name. Blue-Star Woman was proud to write her name for which she would not be required to substitute another's upon her marriage, as is the custom of civilized peoples.”

Zitkála-Šá (1876 – January 26, 1938), also known by her married name Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, was a Yankton Dakota writer, editor, translator, musician, educator, and political activist. Zitkála-Šá attended Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and studied violin in Boston. In 1899, she took a position teaching music at Carlisle Indian Industrial School and also conducted debates on the treatment of Native Americans. Her books were among the first to bring traditional Native American stories to white English-speaking readership, and she has been noted as one of the most influential Native American activists of the 20th century. She co-founded the National Council of American Indians to lobby for extending the right to citizenship and other civil rights to Native peoples. Zitkala-Ša was the council's president until her death in 1938.

Speech:

 

SARA DEER

Sarah Deer is an Indigenous lawyer and professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Public Affairs at The University of Kansas. Her areas of study are expansive, including Indigenous feminist legal theory, tribal court jurisdiction, and violence against Native American women. Dr. Deer is a revered advocate for Native women who have survived sexual assault and played a vital role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act. She is a member of the Muscogee (Creek Nation), has been inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2014

Speech:

  • "Safety for Our Sisters: Ending Violence Against Native Women." The National Museum of the American Indian. 21 March 2019. Video below.

 

WAZIYATAWIN

Angela Lynn Cavender was born February 13, 1968, in Virginia, MN and grew up both on and off the Upper Sioux reservation. In 2007 she legally changed her name to Waziyatawin, a name an elder gave her as a child and which means "woman of the north." She earned a double major in history and American Indian studies at the University of Minnesota and then completed masters and doctoral degrees in history at Cornell University. She has published and co-edited six books exploring Indigenous decolonization methods, recovering Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous women’s resistance. Until 2007, she taught at Arizona State University. As an activist, Waziyatawin gained public attention in 2007 when she was arrested multiple times while protesting the Minnesota sesquicentennial celebration.

Speech:

  • Keynote at He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research Conference. 2013, Video below.

 

JEFFERSON KEEL

Jefferson Keel is the Lieutenant Governor of the Chickasaw Nation and President of the National Congress of American Indians. He has long been dedicated to public service, serving on numerous boards and commissions that promote Native equity and initiatives. He is a retired Army officer with over 20 years of active service and resides in Oklahoma

Speech

  • Testimony at Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. 20 March 2018. PDF.

 

ROSALIE FISH

Rosalie Fish is an 18-year-old member of the Cowlitz Tribe. Her passions include running, youth empowerment, indigenous visibility, upholding and practicing native traditions, as well as uplifting and advocating for native communities and native women. She shared her work on missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW) with the TedXYouth @ Seattle community.

Speech:

 

NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY

  • Native American Women and Suffrage: Citizenship in the Land that was Once Her Own.” Panel Discussion. 6 November 2020.  Video below.

 

ROXANNE SWENTZELL

Roxanne Swentzell (born December 9, 1962) is a Santa Clara Tewa Native American sculptor, ceramic artist, Indigenous food activist, and gallerist. Her work addresses personal and social commentary, reflecting respect for family, cultural heritage, and for the Earth. Her sculptural work has been exhibited at the White House as well as in international museums and galleries. Swentzell runs the Tower Gallery in north Santa Fe.

Speech

  • "Who are you? Standing in our own shoes,"  2017. Video below

 

JOLYANA BITSUIE

Jolyana Bitsuie shares her journey becoming Miss Navajo Nation 2001/2002. Two days after being selected as Miss Navajo Nation, September 11th happened and she spent the next year representing the Navajo Nation across the country. As Miss Navajo, she shared what it meant to be a Navajo woman. Today, she teaches urban Navajos to keep their language and be proud of their roots, to ensure the survival of their language and culture.

CARLOS MONTEZUMA

Carlos Montezuma’s (1866- 923) birthname, Wassaja, means “signaling” or “beckoning” in his native language. Montezuma was an activist, medical doctor, and founding member of the Society of American Indians, and an ardent proponent of Native civil rights. He was the first Native American man to become a doctor, and the first Native American student at both the University of Illinois and Northwestern University. Although early in his career he worked as a doctor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, he later became a staunch critic of the Bureau’s treatment of Native peoples, fueling his creation of the Society of American Indians and eponymous magazine, Wassaja. He was a Yavapai-Apache Native American, and died in 1923 from tuberculosis.

Speech:

 

JOE DELACRUZ

Joe DeLaCruz (1937-2000) was the president Quinault Tribe in Washington state for nearly 22 years. He was a tireless advocate for Native control of land and resources and spent much of the 1970s working for greater recognition of Native autonomy over the natural world and state affairs. DeLaCruz was an instrumental figure in the establishment of the Centennial Accord, an agreement that delineates the relationship between the state of Washington and the near tribes, was president of both the National Tribal Chairman’s Association and the National Congress of American Indians, and served as the public policy chair of the Center for World Indigenous Studies from 1984-2000.

Speech:

 

OREN LYONS

Oren Lyons is a recognized Indigenous rights and environmental justice activist who fights for Native rights on a global scale. Often discussing pressing issues such as land use and protection, Oren’s speeches are marked by the application of traditional natural knowledge to pressing current issues. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1958, where he was noted as an All-American lacrosse player. In the 1960s, he joined the Red Power Movement and continued forth with his activism. He is a member of the Onondaga and Seneca nations of the Iroquois Confederacy and a Faithkeeper for the Wolf Clan for the Seneca Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

Speech:

 

WILMA MANKILLER

Wilma Pearl Mankiller (1945- 2010) was the first woman to serve as Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1985-1995. She was a renowned politician, activist, and social worker known for her expansion of medical and educational services of the Nation. She tirelessly worked as a community organizer and social worker, often centering the well-being and rights of children and Indigenous peoples in her advocacy. Mankiller is a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she received in 1998 from President Bill Clinton.

Speech:

 

 

RUSSELL MEANS

Russell Means (Ogala Lakota, 1939- 2012) was the first National Director of the American Indian Movement and ardent activist for Indigenous rights on a global scale. He actively participated in both national and local politics, finding himself on the libertarian presidential ticket, the Oglala Sioux presidential ticket, and that for governor of New Mexico. Much of his work brought to light the American government’s breaking of treaties with Native Americans, and he tireless collaborated in community organization projects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota. In addition to his activism and political career, Means was also a writer and actor.

  • Testimony at Senate Hearing, 1989 (C-SPAN)

 

  • "The Constitution is Indian Law and That's Why I Love it." 4 Jul 2011.

 

KEVIN GOVER

A former politician and lawyer and current museum director, Kevin Gover has dedicated his professional life to teaching and advocating. Born in Lawton, Oklahoma to parents that were Indigenous rights activists, he received his undergraduate degree from Princeton before attending law school at The University of New Mexico. Since then, he has been a faculty member at the University of Arizona School of Law, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs under the Clinton administration, and currently serves as the director of the National Museum for the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Before joining the federal government, Gover often represented tribal agencies in court and is well known for his speech apologizing to Natives for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ past treatment. He is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

  • “Never Again.” An Apology for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. 8 September 2000.

 

LADONNA HARRIS

LaDonna Vita Tabbytite Harris (born February 26, 1931) is a Comanche Native American social activist and politician. Harris was raised on a farm near the small town in Oklahoma and began her public service as the wife of U.S. Senator Fred Harris. She is the founder and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity, over which she has presided from the 1970s onward, advancing the cultural, political and economic rights of Indigenous peoples in the U.S. and around the world. In 2018, Harris was inducted into the National Native American Hall of Fame.

 

DEBRA HAALAND

Debra Anne Haaland (born December 2, 1960) is the U.S. Representative for New Mexico, First Congressional District. She holds JD in Indian law from the University of New Mexico School of Law.  She is an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo and one of the first two Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress. Haaland supports the Green New Deal and Medicare for All. In December 2020, then President-elect Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Haaland to serve as Secretary of the Interior.

Speech:

  • “Who speaks for you?” Presentation at TEDxABQ. 22 December 2016

 

  • A victory speech after CD1 race. 6 November 2018

 

  • Speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

 

AUDRA SIMPSON

Audra Simpson (b.1969, Mohawk) is a political anthropologist at Columbia University. Her work focuses on contextualizing the force and consequences of governance. She considers some of the current conflicts, such as the fight against the Dakota Pipeline, to be an extension of the Indian Wars of the 19th century.

Speech

ANNIE DODGE WAUNEKA

Annie Dodge Wauneka (Navajo, 1910 – 1997) was a member of the Navajo Nation Council and an influential leader of the Navajo Nation. She is widely known for her tireless efforts to improve health on the Navajo Nation and eradicate tuberculosis. She also authored a medical English-Navajo dictionary. In 1963, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Lyndon B. Johnson. She was also a recipient an honorary doctorate from the University of New Mexico. In 2000, Annie Dodge Wauneka was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Speech

SYMPOSIUM on RACIST STEREOTYPES

  • Racist Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports. National Museum of the American Indian. 13 February 2013.

A day-long symposium on racist stereotypes and cultural appropriation in American sports. Speakers on this panel talk about the mythology and psychology of sports stereotypes and mascots and discuss the efforts to revive them despite the NCAA's policy against "hostile and abusive" nicknames and symbols. The panelists include: Dr. Philip J. Deloria (Moderator) Professor, History and American Studies, University of Michigan; Hon. Judith Bartnoff, Esq., District of Columbia Superior Court; Mr. Erik Brady, Sports Reporter, USA Today; Rev. Graylan Hagler, Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ; Mr. Robert I. Holden, Deputy Director, National Congress of American Indians; Mr. Mike Wise, Sports Columnist, The Washington Post.

 

KEVIN GOVER

A former politician and lawyer and current museum director, Kevin Gover has dedicated his professional life to teaching and advocating. Born in Lawton, Oklahoma to parents that were Indigenous rights activists, he received his undergraduate degree from Princeton before attending law school at The University of New Mexico. Since then, he has been a faculty member at the University of Arizona School of Law, the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs under the Clinton administration, and currently serves as the director of the National Museum for the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Before joining the federal government, Gover often represented tribal agencies in court and is well known for his speech apologizing to Natives for the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ past treatment. He is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.

Speech

  • Mascots, Myths, Monuments, and Memory. 13 March 2018

 

RAY HALBRITTER

Arthur Raymond (Ray) Halbritter is a member of the Oneida Indian Nation’s Wolf clan, of which he has been a representative since 1975. He is the CEO of upstate New York’s Oneida Nation Enterprises and has been an instrumental activist and businessman who continuously works to uplift the Oneida people. Ray has made the Oneida Nation’s enterprise a core goal of his. He believes in reinvesting much of the resulting generated income in institutions that protect and preserve Oneida heritage. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a law degree from Harvard.

Speech

  • Mascots, Monuments, and Memory. A conversaton with Ray Halbritter. August 11, 2020

 

RUSSELL MEANS

Russell Means (1939- 2012) was the first National Director of the American Indian Movement and ardent activist for Indigenous rights on a global scale. He actively participated in both national and local politics, finding himself on the libertarian presidential ticket, the Oglala Sioux presidential ticket, and that for governor of New Mexico. Much of his work brought to light the American government’s breaking of treaties with Native Americans, and he tireless collaborated in community organization projects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Porcupine, South Dakota. He was Ogala Lakota. In addition to his activism and political career, Means was also a writer and actor

Speech:

 

DENNIS BANKS

Dennis Banks (Ojibwe, 1937–2017) was a Native American activist, teacher, and author. He co-founded and led the American Indian Movement. He participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island and, in 1972, assisted in the organization of the “Trail of Broken Treaties,” a caravan of activist groups to Washington, D.C. to call attention to the plight of Native Americans. Under Banks’ leadership, AIM led a protest in Custer, South Dakota against judicial proceedings that reduced the charges of a white man for murdering a Native American. As a result of involvement in Custer and Wounded Knee, Banks and 300 others were arrested. Acquitted of the Wounded Knee charges, Banks was convicted of incitement to riot at Custer and served 18 months. In August 2016, he received the vice-presidential nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party.

Speech:

  • On Overlooked Tragedy of U.S. Indian Boarding Schools. Interview. Democracy Now! 8 October 2012.

 

DAVE ARCHAMBAULT, Sr.

Dave Archambault Sr. (Lakota) is best known as the “Indian School Whisperer” and “Joe Bucking Horse.” He has been an avid advocate for empowerment schooling models for Indian learners of all ages. He also has headed the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, American Indian College Fund, and Sitting Bull College. He is an experienced Tribal Councilman, School Superintendent and Principal, and is the Chairman of the Board of the American Indian Business Leaders organization.

Speech

  • "Indian school whisperer." TEDxBurnsvilleED. 6 November 2013. Video below

 

DENISE LAJIMODIERE

Denise K. Lajimodiere is an enrolled Citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, North Dakota. She has been involved in education for forty-four years as an elementary school teacher, principal, and professor, earning her bachelor, master's, and doctoral degrees from University of North Dakota. Denise recently retired as an associate professor from the School of Education, North Dakota State University, Fargo. She is one of the founders of the National Native America Board School Healing Coalition. Denise is also a traditional Jingle Dress dancer, a writer and a Birch Bark Biting artist.

Speech:

  • "Indian Boarding Schools & Historical Trauma." Pendle Hill Conference and Education Center. 24 May 2018. Video below.

 

LARRY CESSPOOCH

Larry Cesspooch, Ute storyteller and spiritual leader. He grew up on the Uintah & Ouray Ute Reservation in Northeastern Utah and served in the Navy as a radioman in Vietnam, Hawaii and Texas. In 1979, Cesspooch returned home to his tribe to create the "Ute Tribe Audio-Visual," a tribal production group, which then produced over 600 films for the Ute Indian Tribe on the culture, language and history. Cesspooch uses film, music, and storytelling to convey his stories

Speech

 

DEBBIE REESE

Debbie Reese has a PhD in Education and a Master’s of Science in Library Science. Her professional interests have been focused on children’s literature as she founded American Indians in Children’s Literature — a blog dedicated to the analysis of representations of Indigenous peoples in children’s books. She also co-edited a young adult adaptation of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. She is an enrolled member of the Nambé Pueblo nation.

Speech:

 

GREGG DEAL

An enrolled member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute, Gregg Deal is a celebrated artist and activist. In his work, he centers on Indigenous identity, historicity, and race relations and often incorporates elements and allusions to popular culture in both his visual and performance exhibitions. Deal has had residencies at the Denver Museum of Art and the University of California Berkley, prior to which he worked as graphic designer and freelance artist. He currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Speech/Performance:

  • "I've Been Indian My Whole Life." 12 Aug 2014. Video below