Indigenous lecture, writing series aims to make voices visible
The University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University announced the launch of its inaugural Indigenous Lecture and Writing Series in Spring 2019, featuring a public lecture series that will correspondingly engage a cohort of 20 Indigenous writers.
With funding support by the Spencer Foundation, this joint effort by the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Native American Support Program and Learning Sciences Research Institute and Northwestern University’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the Indigenous Lecture & Writing Series (ILWS) seeks to increase the visibility and dissemination of a diversity of stories and knowledge that is embedded in the urban Indigenous community.
“We have a lot of knowledge keepers in Chicago — but our stories aren’t being told and aren’t being heard,” said Cynthia Soto, director of the Native American Support Program at UIC and one of the principal investigators on the grant. “We hope that this series will help promote our stories and help reclaim our truths. In doing so, we can shift the current narrative which can be disparaging to our communities.”
During the year-long grant, the organizers will host monthly public lectures inviting Indigenous scholars and storytellers to speak. Afterward, a selected cohort of 20 Indigenous people will have the opportunity to reflect on the presentation and have space to use that engagement to inspire and cultivate their own writing. Through this process, the writing cohort will develop the tools needed to create a portfolio of writing samples.
The university partners also hope that this series will promote Indigenous scholars’ current research and initiatives happening across the country as well as strengthen the pathway to future Indigenous scholarship.
“Although we will be hosting the series, the Lecture and Writing series is open to all students, staff, faculty and community at large, and all are invited to participate, as a means of increasing access for all,” said Jasmine Gurneau, Manager of Native American and Indigenous Initiatives within the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion at Northwestern University. “The monthly lecture series will be open to the public and not just the writing cohort. Anyone interested in learning more about Indigenous scholarship is welcome to attend.”