Speakers
  • Lori Alvord
  • Dennis Banks
  • Winona LaDuke
  • Robert Lemelson
  • Patty Loew
  • Tess Onwueme
  • Murry Sidlin
  • Justice Murray Sinclair
  • Joseph Slaughter
  • Aliko Songolo

Lori Alvord

Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D., is the associate dean of student affairs for the College of Medicine at Central Michigan University. Prior to joining CMU, Dr. Alvord served as an assistant professor of surgery and psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School and as an adjunct assistant professor of comparative literature at Dartmouth College. She also was an associate faculty member for the Center for American Indian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. From 1997 to 2009, Alvord was the associate dean of student and multicultural affairs for Dartmouth Medical School.

Dennis Banks

As one of the founders of the American Indian Movement (AIM), Dennis Banks has spent much of his life protecting the traditional ways of Indian people and engaging in legal cases protecting treaty rights of Native Americans. He travels the globe lecturing, teaching Native American customs, and sharing his experiences.
Dennis Banks, Native American leader, teacher, lecturer, activist, and author, was born in 1932 on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota. In 1968, he helped found the American Indian Movement (AIM), which was established to protect the traditional ways of Indian people and to engage in legal cases protecting treaty rights of Native Americans, such as treaty and aboriginal rights to hunting and fishing, trapping, and gathering wild rice.
AIM has been quite successful in bringing Native American issues to the public. Among other activities, AIM members participated in the occupation of Alcatraz Island, where demands were made that all federal surplus property be returned to Indian control. In 1972, AIM organized and led the Trail of Broken Treaties Caravan across the United States to Washington, D.C., calling attention to the plight of Native Americans. The refusal of congressional leaders to meet with the Trail of Broken Treaties delegation led to the 1972 takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs offices in Washington, D.C.
Under the leadership of Banks, AIM led a protest in Custer, South Dakota, in 1973 against the judicial process that found a non-Indian innocent of murdering an Indian. As a result of his involvement in the 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973, and his activities at Custer, Banks and 300 others were arrested. Banks was acquitted of charges stemming from his participation in the Wounded Knee takeover, but was convicted of riot and assault stemming from the confrontation at Custer. Refusing to serve time in prison, Banks went underground but later received amnesty from Governor Jerry Brown of California.
Between 1976 and 1983, Banks earned an associate of arts degree at the University of California, Davis, and taught at Deganawidah-Quetzecoatl (DQ) University (an all-Indian controlled institution), where he became the first American Indian university chancellor. In the spring of 1979, he taught at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
In 1987, Banks was active in convincing the states of Kentucky and Indiana to pass laws against desecration of Indian graves and human remains. He organized reburial ceremonies for over 1,200 Indian grave sites that were disturbed by graverobbers in Uniontown, Kentucky.
In 1988, Banks organized and led a spiritual run called the Sacred Run from New York to San Francisco, and then across Japan from Hiroshima to Hakkaido. Also in 1988, his autobiography Sacred Soul was published in Japan, and won the 1988 Non-fiction Book of the Year Award.

Robert B. Lemelson, Ph.D.

An anthropologist who received his master's degree from the University of Chicago and his doctoral degree from the University of California-Los Angeles, Dr. Robert Lemelson is currently a research anthropologist in Center for Culture and Health, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the Semel Institute of Neurosciences at UCLA, and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. He was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia in 1996-97. He has worked for the World Health Organization and is additionally trained as a clinical psychologist. His areas of specialty are Southeast-Asian studies, psychological anthropology, and transcultural psychiatry.
Dr. Lemelson has recently published in the journals Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and Transcultural Psychiatry, among others. His co-edited volume, Understanding Trauma: Integrating Biological, Clinical, and Cultural Perspectives, was published in early 2007 by Cambridge University Press.
As a documentary filmmaker and psychological anthropologist, Dr. Lemelson's work focuses on personal experience, culture, and mental illness in Indonesia and the United States. He has been conducting anthropological research in Indonesia since 1993. Dr. Lemelson has completed his most recent film entitled 40 Years of Silence: an Indonesian Tragedy, a feature length documentary about the traumatic long-term effects of Indonesia's 1965 mass killings on four families. He also directed and produced the Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia series, a Limited Series Award Nominee for the 2010 IDA Documentary Awards. The three-part series, shot over the course of 12 years in Bali and Java, Indonesia, is a result of longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork exploring the relationship between culture, mental illness, and personal experience. He is also the CEO and founder of Elemental Productions.
Dr. Lemelson is the founder and the president of the Foundation for Psychocultural Research (The FPR), whose mission is to advance and support interdisciplinary research and training in neuroscience, psychiatry, and anthropology. Dr. Lemelson also serves as a director, co-Vice President and Secretary of The Lemelson Foundation, a family foundation whose mission is to promote innovation and invention in American society and the developing world. Dr Lemelson also supports the UCLA Indonesian Studies Program, which was created in 2008. It is part of UCLA's Center for Southeast Asian Studies, which is housed at the UCLA International Institute.

Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke (Anishinaabe) is an internationally acclaimed author, orator and activist. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities with advanced degrees in rural economic development, LaDuke has devoted her life to protecting the lands and life ways of Native communities.

LaDuke is founder and Co-Director of Honor the Earth, a national advocacy group encouraging public support and funding for native environmental groups. With Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on issues of climate change, renewable energy, sustainable development, food systems and environmental justice.

In her own community in northern Minnesota, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organizations in the country, and a leader on the issues of culturally-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. In this work, LaDuke also works to protect Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering.

In 1994, Time magazine named her one of America's fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age, and in 1997 LaDuke was named Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year.

Other honors include the Reebok Human Rights Award, the Thomas Merton Award, the Ann Bancroft Award, the Global Green Award, and the prestigious International Slow Food Award for working to protect wild rice and local biodiversity. In 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

LaDuke also served as Ralph Nader's vice-presidential running mate on the Green Party ticket in the 1996 and 2000 presidential elections.

In addition to numerous articles, LaDuke is the author of a number of non-fiction titles including All Our Relations, The Winona LaDuke Reader, Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming, Food is Medicine: Recovering Traditional Foods to Heal the People and her latest, The Militarization of Indian Country. She has also penned a work of fiction, Last Standing Woman, and a children's book, In the Sugarbush.

Patty Loew

Patty Loew is a professor in the Department of Life Science Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also is as a producer for WHA-TV (PBS) and co-host of In Wisconsin, a weekly news and public affairs program that airs statewide on Wisconsin Public Television.
Her research interests include television documentary production and Native American media, particularly how indigenous people use the media to form identity, reconstruct the past, and assert their sovereignty and treaty rights. She has written two books: Indian Nations of Wisconsin : Histories of Endurance and Renewa l and Native People of Wisconsin, a social studies text for elementary school children. She has authored dozens of scholarly and general interest articles on Native topics and produced several Native-themed documentaries, including No Word for Goodbye, Spring of Discontent, and Nation Within a Nation, which have appeared on commercial and public television stations throughout the country. She recently completed production on a new PBS documentary, Way of the Warrior, that examines the role and cultural meaning of Native American military service in the 20th Century.
Prior to joining the UW-Madison faculty, from 1985-1997, she co-anchored weekday newscasts for WKOW TV (ABC) in Madison . Other television experience includes anchoring, writing, and producing for KATU TV in Portland, Oregon; KHQ TV in Spokane, Washington; and WXOW TV in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Her outreach efforts have focused on promoting diversity in television newsrooms. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association and served on the Program Committee for Unity '99: Journalists of Color Conference (National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association), an international conference for 7,000 journalists of color in Seattle, WA .
Loew is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.

Tess Onwueme

A writer with an active conscience, Dr. Tess Onwueme is one of the best known and most prolific contemporary playwrights whose provocative and humorous writing and speaking often poke into taboo and controversial subject.

She is a winner of several international awards, including the 2009 prestigious Fonlon-Nichols Award, and two major Ford Foundation awards in 2000 and 2001. In 2007 she was appointed to the US State Department Public Diplomacy Specialist/Speaker Program for North, West, and East India.

Among her numerous award-winning plays are: Tell It To Women (1997), What Mama Said (2004), Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen (2001), The Reign Of Wazobia (1988), The Broken Calabash (1984), Mirror for Campus (1987), and The Desert Encroaches (1985). Other creative works by Tess Onwueme include: No Vacancy (2005), The Missing Face (2006), Riot In Heaven (1996), Legacies (1989), Why the Elephant Has No Butt (2000), and Ban Empty Barn (1986).

An International Conference: Staging Women, Youth, Globalization, and Eco-Literature--exclusively dedicated to Onwueme's work--was held in the capital of Nigeria, Abuja, from November 11-14, 2009. To mark the theatrefest in her honor, three of Onwueme's plays---Shakara, The Reign Of Wazobia and What Mama Said--were featured on stage at the Tess International Conference.

In December 2007, her socio-political allegory Parables for a Season had its world premiere in Khartoum, Sudan under the auspices of the KICS International Theatre, directed by the American artistic director, Mark Webber. The BBC World Drama Service produced Onwueme's Shakara: Dance-Hall Queen in their worldwide broadcast in the fall of 2004 and 2005, respectively. From April to May 2001, her play, The Missing Face, was staged off-broadway by Woodie King, Jr. Producing Director at the New Federal Theatre, New York.

As a playwright, scholar, activist, Tess Onwueme's works have a wide range of social, political, historical, cultural and environmental concerns of the masses in the global community today, specifically women, youth, people of the Nigerian Niger-Delta, as well as Africans in the continent, the African Diaspora, with related Third Worlds.

Since joining the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1994 as a Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity and Professor of English after her years of teaching in both Nigerian and American universities, Dr. Onwueme continues to serve as a role-model for women and youth through her inspirational writing and speaking that are steadily shaping and transforming public consciousness of issues impacting black women and youth in global societies today.

Murry Sidlin

Conductor Murry Sidlin has just finished serving in his 8th year as Dean of the School of Music at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and is rejoining the faculty as a member of the conducting division. Before coming to Catholic University, for eight years, he served as resident conductor of the Oregon Symphony under music director James DePreist, where he originated the Illuminations concert dramas, engaging concert presentations that set records for audience attendance, and which he now performs across the country.
He has conducted 14 consecutive New Year's Eve Galas with members of the National Symphony at Washington's Kennedy Center. The National Symphony has long had a special place in Sidlin's career as he spent four years on the conducting staff as resident conductor to Antal Dorati. Sidlin also served for 2 ½ years as assistant conductor to Sergiu Comissiona at the Baltimore Symphony. His career includes tenure as music director of the New Haven Symphony for 12 years, the Long Beach Symphony and the Tulsa Philharmonic.
Last year, Sidlin debuted with the Juilliard Orchestra in New York, and over the past several seasons he has conducted more than 150 concerts with the San Diego Symphony, as well as several re-engagements with the Lindberg Orchestra in Holland. Also last season, he made his debut with the George Enescu Orchestra in Bucharest, and presented his internationally recognized concert drama DEFIANT REQUIEM with the Buffalo Philharmonic.
In May of 2006, Sidlin conducted his most well-known concert/drama, DEFIANT REQUIEM, on the grounds of Terezin, the former Nazi concentration camp in the Czech Republic, with chorus and orchestra of the Catholic University of America. He has performed this concert/drama additionally at Terezin in May and June, 2009, and at the University of Houston last May as well. Other performances of DEFIANT REQUIEM were presented at the Oregon Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic and at Catholic University. He is currently finishing a documentary film entitled DEFIANT REQUIEM AT TEREZIN, concerning the Verdi Requiem that was learned and performed by a prisoners chorus which gave 16 performances between October, 1943, and June, 1944.
In addition to DEFIANT REQUIEM, Sidlin's ILLUMINATIONS include: SIGMUND FREUD AND THE DREAMS OF GUSTAV MAHLER, SILENT BUGLES/THE WAR REQUIEM, AARON COPLAND'S AMERICA, SHADOWS AND VOICES-THE FINAL DAYS OF TCHAIKOWSKY, THE ANATOMY OF THE NINTH, RUSSIAN DAVID-SOVIET GOLIATH: Shostakvich vs. Stalin, FROM LENNY TO MAESTRO, and 16 others. During the summer of '07 at the Aspen Music Festival he premiered a new creation entitled, "WHO KILLED MOZART?"
Sidlin's numerous television credits include MUSIC IS ..., a ten-part series about music for young people that which was broadcast nationally in America for five years over the PBS Network and produced at WETA in Washington. As conductor and teaching conductor, he has been featured on major television morning shows in the United States: twice on NBC's TODAY, several times on CBS Sunday Morning, and ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA. DEFIANT REQUIEM was a PBS special in 2004 and '05, carried several times by 250 network stations.
He is the founder and director of the new Rafael Schachter Institute of Arts and Humanities at Terezin, presently being developed on the grounds of Terezin in the Czech Republic to commemorate through continuation the more than 530 lecturers and 2400 lectures, plus countless music performances that were presented there during the years 1942 through 1945.

Justice Murray Sinclair

The Honourable Justice Murray Sinclair was appointed the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in June of 2009. Previously, he was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba in January 2001. He was Manitoba's first Aboriginal Judge.

Justice Sinclair was born and raised in the Selkirk area north of Winnipeg, graduating from his high school as class valedictorian and athlete of the year in 1968. After serving as Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Manitoba, Justice Sinclair attended the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba and, in 1979, graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba.

He was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1980. In the course of his legal practice, Justice Sinclair practiced primarily in the fields of civil and criminal litigation and Aboriginal law. He represented a cross-section of clients but by the time of his appointment, was known for his representation of Aboriginal people and his knowledge of Aboriginal legal issues.

Shortly after his appointment as Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in 1988, Justice Sinclair was appointed Co-Commissioner, along with Court of Queen's Bench Associate Chief Justice A. C. Hamilton, of Manitoba's Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. In November 2000, Justice Sinclair completed the Report of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Inquest, a study into the deaths of twelve children in the pediatric cardiac surgery program of Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre in 1994.

He has been awarded a National Aboriginal Achievement award in addition to many other community service awards, as well as Honourary Degrees from the University of Manitoba, the University of Ottawa, and St. John's College (University of Manitoba). He is an adjunct professor of Law and an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at the University of Manitoba. Justice Sinclair is married to Katherine Morrisseau-Sinclair (Animiki-quay). They have four children, Manon (Miskodagaginquay) Beaudrie, James (Niigonwedom) (and his partner Lorena Sekwan Fontaine), Déne (Beendighay-geezhigo-quay), Gazheek (Gazhegwenabeek), and one granddaughter Sarah (Nimijiien Niibense) Fontaine-Sinclair.

Joseph Slaughter

Joseph Slaughter is an Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. He teaches and publishes in the fields of postcolonial literature and theory, African, Caribbean, and Latin American literatures, postcolonialism, narrative theory, human rights, and 20th-century ethnic and third world literatures.
His many publications include articles in Human Rights Quarterly, Research in African Literatures, The Journal of Human Rights, Politics and Culture, Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. His essay, "Enabling Fictions and Novel Subjects: The Bildungsroman and International Human Rights Law," appeared in a special issue on human rights of PMLA (October 2006) and was honored as one of the two best articles published in the journal in 2006-7. Selected book chapters appear in Humanitarianism and Suffering, African Writers and Their Readers, Emerging Perspectives on Chinua Achebe, Modernism and Copyright, Women, Gender, and Human Rights.
Slaughter is a founding co-editor of Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development; he has co-edited a special issue on "Human Rights and Literary Form" of Comparative Literature Studies. His book, Human Rights, Inc.: The World Novel, Narrative Form, and International Law (Fordham UP, 2007), which explores the cooperative narrative logics of international human rights law and the Bildungsroman, was awarded the 2008 René Wellek prize for comparative literature and cultural theory.
He is currently working on two book manuscripts, "Pathetic Fallacies: Essays on Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and the Humanities" and "New Word Orders: Plagiarism, Postcolonialism, and the Globalization of the Novel," which considers the role of plagiarism (and other piratical textual practices) in the circulation and development of the novel form.

Aliko Songolo

Aliko Songolo is the Halverson-Bascom Professor of French and African Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include African and Caribbean literature in French, 20th-century poetry, and francophonie (literature and cultural studies).