OU to have virtual event with Native American scholar

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 30, 2021

Treuer is professor, editor, author of 19 books

ATHENS — The Ohio University Division of Diversity and Inclusion will host a special virtual event with Native American scholar Dr. Anton Treuer on Nov. 2, in celebration of American Indian Heritage Month.

Treuer is professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 19 books. He has a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

He is editor of the Oshkaabewis Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language.

He has received more than 40 prestigious awards, including ones from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

“He is perfect for the university setting because as a college professor himself he brings the kind of background that I believe is crucial for our audience,” said Dr. Winsome Chunnu, director of the Multicultural Center.

Treuer’s talk is titled, “Sovereignty is Sacred: Sharing our Rights and Cultures.” Topics discussed will include cultural appropriation, land acknowledgement, and changing sports mascots.

Chunnu said these are very timely topics to discuss.

“Cultural appropriation is often cited particularly around Halloween time, but generally why we shouldn’t mock and dress as Mexican or Indians,” Chunnu said. “Changing the mascots is something a lot of sports teams are grappling with. Should they or should they not change their mascot and what does that mean for their players, their owners and the fans?”

Ohio University’s Multicultural Center has been celebrating Native American History month for over a decade.

“The United States is uniquely one of the most diverse countries in the world,” Chunnu said. “It’s important that we recognize the history of Native Americans in our country and that we are still grappling with inherent inequalities. This celebration allows just another opportunity for the University to highlight the history, work, culture, and contributions of Americans that are often not a part of the regular narrative.”

The online event begins at 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 via Microsoft Teams, and participants are asked to register before the meeting.