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Release: April 3, 2000

UI to host Graduate Research Conference on American Indian Studies April 6-8

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Last spring, faculty in the University of Iowa's American Indian and Native Studies Program (AINSP) made a proposal to their Big 10 colleagues: Why not give their graduate students a forum for presenting and discussing their research?

The result was the inaugural Graduate Research Conference on American Indian Studies, which will be held primarily in the Iowa Memorial Union on the UI campus Thursday, April 6 through Saturday, April 8. The conference will give graduate students from the UI and other Big 10 schools a chance to discuss their research in American Indian studies.

"We've gotten 36 papers, which is amazing given that these are typically small communities," Jacki Rand, an assistant professor in the UI Department of History and American Indian and Native Studies, said in reference to typical Native American Studies programs. "And the papers cover a range of disciplines, including English, anthropology, history, and even computer technologies that are being used to preserve Indian languages and cultures."

What's more, the conference has garnered the attention of Indian and Native American studies faculty and students from all the Big 10 schools, who are vying to host future conferences. The conference will be hosted by the University of Michigan in 2001, by the University of Illinois in 2002 and by Michigan State in 2003.

As part of the conference, three Native American storytellers will spin tales the evening of Thursday, April 6. The storytelling session runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St., and will feature Jerome Kills Small, Simon Ortiz, and Steve Thunder-McGuire, an art education professor in the University of Iowa College of Education. The event is free and open to the public.

Overlapping the conference is the UI's American Indian Arts and Crafts Festival and Powwow, which runs April 7-9 in Carver Hawkeye Arena. Rand said conference participants will be encouraged to attend the Powwow

The conference is sponsored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation American Indian Studies Consortium, an academic consortium of the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The storytelling session is being sponsored in part by Humanities Iowa, the University of Iowa American Indian and Native Studies Program, the department of English, the UI College of Liberal Arts and the University of New Mexico Press.

For more information about the conference, visit its Web site at