(Re)Indigenizing Spaces in Zhekagoynak

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Join us for a conversation with an activist, an artist, and a scholar

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Register for free to receive the link to watch this virtual program on Zoom. You can also tune in on the Newberry's Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Over the last year, monuments and memorials have become a flash point in conversations about how we remember the past and address systemic racism and inequality in the present. In Zhekagoynak (a Potawatomi word for Chicago, which is home to the largest urban population of Indigenous people in the Midwest) many public monuments erase the presence of Indigenous peoples and cultures. In the process, these monuments white-wash genocidal violence and celebrate settler-colonialism.

In this discussion, speakers will explore how public monuments relate to memory and history and how Indigenous spaces and futures can be reclaimed through action, performance, and art.

About the speakers:

Doug Kiel is assistant professor of history at Northwestern University. A citizen of the Oneida Nation, he studies Native American history, focusing on the Great Lakes region and twentieth-century efforts to rebuild Indigenous nations. His current book project is Unsettling Territory: Oneida Indian Resurgence and Anti-Sovereignty Backlash. Kiel has worked in several museums, testified as an expert witness on Indigenous land rights, and in 2008 was an Indigenous Fellow at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland. He currently serves on the advisory committee for the renovation of the Field Museum’s exhibition on Native North America.

Madolyn Wesaw is Manager of Tribal Placement and Development at Four Winds Casinos, where she focuses on helping tribal citizens obtain meaningful employment and work towards their professional and educational goals. A citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, she also serves Indigenous and other marginalized groups through her work with the American Indian Movement Chapter of Indiana and Kentucky. In addition, she serves on the Interim Coordinating Committee of the Michiana Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

X is an Indigenous futurist, multidisciplinary artist, and architect specializing in land, architectural, and new media installation. A citizen of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana (Koasati) and Indigenous Chamoru from the Island of Guam (Hacha'Maori), his work illuminates the liminal space between the ancestral plane and our accelerating post-human world. X is a 3Arts Award Winner, a 2020 New City Top 50 Artist, an advisor on the inaugural Chicago Monuments and Memorials Committee, and the first Native American contributor to the Chicago Architecture Biennial. His work is exhibited and collected internationally, including at the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Ars Electronica, and the MCA Chicago. In 2020, X was commissioned by the US State Department as lead artist of the American Arts Incubator Brazil, for which he traveled to Brazil and conducted workshops culminating in a virtual reality exhibition, PORTAL.

This is a “Community Conversation” event in collaboration with the Chicago Monuments Project. Funding is provided by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

This program is co-sponsored by the D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies at the Newberry.

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Organizer Newberry Library

Organizer of (Re)Indigenizing Spaces in Zhekagoynak

The Newberry is an independent research library that supports and inspires scholarship, teaching, and learning in the humanities. Our collection—some 1.6 million books, 600,000 maps, and 5 million manuscript pages—is a portal to more than six centuries of human history, from the Middle Ages to the present. We connect people with this history in the Newberry’s reading rooms, program spaces, exhibition galleries, and online digital resources.

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