Reckoning & Reconciliation 101
Learn about the concept of reconciliation and its impact on our lives with the planners of our year-long series of events. Panelists: Margaret Jacobs (Director, Center for Great Plains Studies), Kevin Abourezk (Journalist, Managing Editor, Indianz.com)
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[00:00:00.336](gentle acoustic guitar)
[00:00:09.370]Well, hello everyone, I'm Katie Nieland,
[00:00:10.943]and I'm the Associate Director
[00:00:12.850]at the Center for Great Plain Studies.
[00:00:14.730]I'd really like to thank you
[00:00:16.280]for attending our kickoff event for our new 2022 series
[00:00:20.730]on Reckoning and Reconciliation in the Great Plains.
[00:00:24.130]We decided to expand this event
[00:00:26.320]and spread out what was originally a three day event
[00:00:29.510]to become a theme for the entire year.
[00:00:31.900]So we hope that this gives people multiple chances
[00:00:34.820]to connect with these topics in a lot of different ways.
[00:00:37.890]So for all the events, and to sign up for the whole series,
[00:00:41.210]you can visit the link that I'll drop in the chat.
[00:00:44.584]And next, I will have our panelists introduce themselves,
[00:00:48.480]but first, a big thank you
[00:00:50.270]to our other program committee members
[00:00:52.520]who are here with us today,
[00:00:54.455]Laura Munoz and Jessica Shoemaker.
[00:00:57.290]Thank you both so much.
[00:00:58.670]We really appreciate all the hard work you're doing.
[00:01:00.760]And then the other community members, our speakers today,
[00:01:03.310]Kevin Abourezk and Margaret Jacob.
[00:01:05.250]So I will let them introduce themselves.
[00:01:11.930]You wanna go ahead, Kevin?
[00:01:23.480]In my Native Lakota tongue,
[00:01:25.763]I just greeted you all as relatives,
[00:01:28.710]which is part of my people's belief system,
[00:01:31.820]that we are all related.
[00:01:33.760]And I told you that my Lakota name is Holy Road.
[00:01:36.500]My non-Native name is Kevin Abourezk,
[00:01:38.680]and I'm an enrolled citizen of the Rosebud Sioux tribe.
[00:01:41.130]And just glad to be here,
[00:01:43.500]and with that I'll pass it along to Margaret.
[00:01:46.130]Yeah, welcome everybody.
[00:01:47.290]We're really, really delighted and thrilled you're all here.
[00:01:50.920]And we've been talking about this event,
[00:01:55.610]we've been planning it for more than a year,
[00:01:57.540]so it's fun to finally like gather a group of people
[00:02:01.470]who have some common interest
[00:02:03.160]in reckoning and reconciliation on the Great Plains.
[00:02:06.670]And my introduction, my name's Margaret Jacobs.
[00:02:11.040]I'm the Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies,
[00:02:14.290]I'm of white settler background.
[00:02:17.170]And we'll probably get to that later in the discussion,
[00:02:20.170]what I mean by settler.
[00:02:22.823]And I'm also a history professor
[00:02:25.840]at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln,
[00:02:28.000]and I've got a couple projects, one,
[00:02:31.850]The Genoa Indian school Digital Reconciliation Project,
[00:02:35.213]and then a project that Kevin and I co-direct and co-founded
[00:02:38.696]called "Reconciliation Rising",
[00:02:41.560]that speak to a lot of these issues around reconciliation.
[00:02:44.600]So again, we're really delighted you're here.
[00:02:47.280]And I also wanna give a special shout out
[00:02:49.491]to Laura Munoz and Jess Shoemaker,
[00:02:53.140]who are on the program committee
[00:02:54.850]for this series of events with Kevin and me.
[00:02:58.410]And I also wanna shout out to Katie Nieland,
[00:03:01.053]and Dylan Wall who are working really hard behind the scenes
[00:03:06.231]to get all the work done for this particular series.
[00:03:10.530]So thank you so much for being here.
[00:03:17.180]Thank you both so much.
[00:03:19.020]So I'm just gonna ask a few questions here in the beginning,
[00:03:21.740]to sort to give people an idea of the topic
[00:03:24.728]and what we might be covering this year.
[00:03:26.969]So to start out, how did you both get interested
[00:03:29.567]and involved in this work?
[00:03:31.800]Margaret had reached out to me around 2018,
[00:03:34.771]and she was wanting to start a podcast
[00:03:37.640]focusing on Native people and non-Native people
[00:03:41.763]and sort of efforts to create reconciliation
[00:03:46.630]between Native and non-Native people.
[00:03:49.030]And, you know, I had done a podcast
[00:03:51.460]or I was doing a podcast at the time,
[00:03:53.080]called "Indian Times with Kevin and Leo".
[00:03:55.170]This was a podcast that I did
[00:03:57.120]with a friend of mine named Leo Yankton,
[00:03:59.180]who passed away this past August.
[00:04:02.680]So, we decided to go ahead and start this new podcast
[00:04:05.837]called "Reconciliation Rising".
[00:04:07.920]We took a little while to come up with that name,
[00:04:10.110]but that's what we landed on, and I really love it.
[00:04:12.020]And there's something we've been doing
[00:04:13.407]for the past now, almost four years.
[00:04:15.990]And I'll pass it back to Margaret if she wants to say more.
[00:04:20.940]Yeah, so I, you know, I mentioned I'm a historian.
[00:04:25.360]I have studied for more than two decades,
[00:04:30.040]the phenomenon of Indigenous family separation,
[00:04:33.850]Indigenous child removal.
[00:04:35.740]And that includes such things
[00:04:37.150]as the Indian boarding schools,
[00:04:39.110]but also the removal of Indigenous children
[00:04:41.780]after World War II to be fostered
[00:04:45.170]and adopted by non-Indians.
[00:04:47.620]And, you know, when you study this history,
[00:04:51.080]it's just so incredibly disturbing.
[00:04:53.320]And I just couldn't help, but not just study that history,
[00:04:57.740]but care so deeply about coming to terms with that history
[00:05:02.740]and healing from it.
[00:05:04.560]And that history also brought me in contact
[00:05:06.910]with what was going on in Canada and Australia
[00:05:09.988]around their efforts to make amends
[00:05:13.040]for what the Australians call the Stolen Generations
[00:05:16.167]and what the Canadians were focused on,
[00:05:18.370]with the Indian residential schools.
[00:05:20.640]And so I got really interested
[00:05:21.950]in why were those countries doing something
[00:05:24.520]about reckoning with their histories,
[00:05:26.989]one of the most egregious crimes against Indigenous peoples
[00:05:30.880]in those countries,
[00:05:32.410]and we weren't doing anything in the US.
[00:05:35.150]And so I decided I really wanted to focus on that issue.
[00:05:38.460]And as Kevin mentioned, I had the good luck
[00:05:42.410]to find out about Kevin from a mutual friend.
[00:05:46.200]And we met, I remember the first time we met at,
[00:05:50.487]I'm thinking it was Sultan's Kite,
[00:05:53.816]but don't quote me on that.
[00:05:55.850]And I just remember the first time we met,
[00:05:58.530]and how we shared what we both were interested in,
[00:06:01.210]and found like we had a lot of mutual interest
[00:06:03.848]and that did start our project together,
[00:06:08.781]And as Kevin said, we've been at it for almost four years.
[00:06:12.490]And we expanded from podcasts to making films as well.
[00:06:18.941]I might just add real quick, you know, 2018, of course,
[00:06:22.340]these past four years even have been incredibly divisive.
[00:06:26.210]And when Margaret came to me with this idea,
[00:06:29.270]it just seemed destined to happen.
[00:06:31.753]I mean, it seemed like the right thing to do.
[00:06:32.820]It was so polarized, you know, with Democrat and Republican
[00:06:37.890]and liberal and conservative and you name it.
[00:06:40.700]And it just seemed like the right time
[00:06:44.130]to start trying to heal some of these divides
[00:06:46.256]as best we can.
[00:06:48.680]And I really like the idea of, you know,
[00:06:51.390]focusing on reconciliation efforts
[00:06:53.090]between Natives and non-Natives,
[00:06:54.400]as obviously Native person, myself, who, you know,
[00:06:57.710]was raised by a non-Native man and have non-Native siblings,
[00:07:01.670]always kind of grew up
[00:07:02.503]in non-Native communities for the most part.
[00:07:05.091]I've always kind of walked between these two worlds
[00:07:07.420]and always, you know, tried to educate people
[00:07:10.480]about Native people when I can.
[00:07:14.170]So it just felt like it was something I was supposed to do.
[00:07:16.057]You know, I guess when I, somebody comes to me
[00:07:19.280]and asks for support for something like this,
[00:07:22.490]you know, I always gotta sort of consult my heart,
[00:07:25.370]consult the Great Spirit,
[00:07:27.100]and it sure seemed like this was something
[00:07:29.190]that, you know, the universe wanted.
[00:07:32.790]So any case, I'll leave it at that.
[00:07:36.638]Great, thank you both.
[00:07:37.853]Can we talk a little bit
[00:07:38.927]about why we should reckon with the past?
[00:07:45.170]Well, maybe I can start.
[00:07:47.790]You know, I guess, as a historian,
[00:07:49.107]I'm really obsessed with reckoning with the past
[00:07:51.650]or with the past, but I think that's
[00:07:54.490]because I got into history because I wanted to understand
[00:07:58.653]what was going all around me right now in the present,
[00:08:03.140]and to also think about
[00:08:05.310]how could we work toward feasible solutions
[00:08:08.240]to many of our social problems.
[00:08:10.380]And I think history is really important
[00:08:12.420]to understanding that,
[00:08:13.630]because the past has shaped all of us,
[00:08:16.297]it has shaped, if we're an Indigenous person,
[00:08:22.460]a person of color,
[00:08:24.450]there are ways in which the history of this country
[00:08:27.620]has disadvantaged Indigenous people, people of color,
[00:08:32.941]you know, through dispossession of land, through slavery,
[00:08:36.300]through Jim Crow, through incarceration rates,
[00:08:38.858]through so many indignities and abuses.
[00:08:44.720]But if you're a person
[00:08:46.200]of white racial background or a settler,
[00:08:50.520]which is a term I use
[00:08:51.500]for those who are not indigenous to this nation,
[00:08:55.485]that past has also conferred
[00:08:57.517]a lot of benefits and advantages
[00:09:00.059]to those of us who are white settlers.
[00:09:03.060]And I think we rarely acknowledge that,
[00:09:07.380]those of us who are of that background,
[00:09:10.499]and it's equally important, I think,
[00:09:14.090]for those of us who are white settlers
[00:09:15.560]to acknowledge that background,
[00:09:17.420]to be accountable for that background,
[00:09:19.600]to be accountable for the past
[00:09:21.660]and to work toward creating a more just
[00:09:24.872]and healthy and thriving society.
[00:09:30.730]I guess I would add to that by saying, you know,
[00:09:32.570]there was a story that somebody told us recently,
[00:09:34.740]and maybe it was as Rick Williams.
[00:09:35.980]I don't quite remember.
[00:09:37.060]You can remind me here once I shared the story, Margaret,
[00:09:40.610]but the story had had to do
[00:09:42.570]with this sort of effort out east, I guess.
[00:09:47.208]And there was a Native man
[00:09:49.550]who was holding a part of a symposium there.
[00:09:52.360]And it was kind of on a similar topic as this.
[00:09:54.580]And one of the questions that got brought up was,
[00:09:57.683]one of the non-Native audience member asked,
[00:10:01.470]why should I have to pay for the sins of my grandfather?
[00:10:05.360]And the Native man who was there speaking said,
[00:10:09.480]or I guess the way the non-Native person said,
[00:10:11.980]you know, why do I have to be held responsible
[00:10:16.270]if my grandfather stole a horse?
[00:10:18.246]And the Native man who was there responded by saying,
[00:10:21.880]you still own the horse.
[00:10:23.350]And to me, I guess that that was a real great response
[00:10:27.350]in the sense that regardless of whether,
[00:10:31.515]you know, people living today,
[00:10:33.710]non-Native people living today
[00:10:35.490]have done anything against Native people or not,
[00:10:38.407]they're still the beneficiaries of, you know,
[00:10:40.700]all of the land dispossession and assimilation efforts,
[00:10:46.070]boarding schools, and all of those things
[00:10:47.740]that were really wreaked upon Native people.
[00:10:51.320]And so I think it's important to recognize that.
[00:10:54.183]That doesn't mean necessarily
[00:10:56.136]that we're asking for everything back, of course not,
[00:10:59.240]but at the same time, it's important.
[00:11:02.000]Recognition, before any reconciliation takes place,
[00:11:05.250]that recognition needs to be had.
[00:11:11.690]Great, thank you both.
[00:11:13.040]My next question is,
[00:11:14.240]how do we heal from historical harms and abuses?
[00:11:21.630]Okay, I'll take a stab at that.
[00:11:25.412]So first I do wanna say, yeah, Kevin,
[00:11:28.190]I think that was a story that Rick Williams told us.
[00:11:31.650]And I wanna just mention Rick Williams
[00:11:34.090]is one of our speakers in March,
[00:11:36.029]and we'll talk more about that later,
[00:11:39.530]but I just wanna give a shout out to him.
[00:11:41.310]He's an amazing Lakota Cheyenne Elder,
[00:11:45.010]who worked for years for the Native American College Fund.
[00:11:49.670]And he's, oh well, so many things to say about him,
[00:11:55.184]you'll have to hear him for sure
[00:11:58.458]when he is here virtually on, I believe March 9th.
[00:12:01.240]Is that right, Katie- yep.
[00:12:03.510]So that was a lot of stalling, wasn't it?
[00:12:08.800]So, you know, this is such a huge question.
[00:12:11.420]How do we heal from the abuses and injustices of the past?
[00:12:17.060]And I think that's what the point of our series is,
[00:12:21.560]is to explore that very question.
[00:12:23.350]I mean, people have spent their lives
[00:12:27.990]pondering this question,
[00:12:29.750]people who are, for example,
[00:12:32.060]in the field of an international law,
[00:12:34.190]or who are trying to bring their countries
[00:12:37.486]back from the brink of civil war,
[00:12:39.920]or, you know, dealing with genocide,
[00:12:45.230]post genocide, as we are in this country as well.
[00:12:50.293]So experts in this area, you know, they've proposed
[00:12:54.420]a lot of general efforts
[00:12:55.970]that may help with healing and justice.
[00:12:58.780]And these encompass everything from apologies,
[00:13:02.700]official apologies, commemorative events,
[00:13:07.510]memorials, funding for healing efforts,
[00:13:12.790]especially healing efforts led by those
[00:13:14.850]who are affected by these abuses in the past,
[00:13:18.933]reparations for individuals,
[00:13:21.550]compensation for the harms that they've experienced,
[00:13:24.950]restitution, which means actually like returning people
[00:13:29.070]to the state that they were at before they lost so much.
[00:13:33.530]So for example, land back would be a form of restitution.
[00:13:39.110]Another thing I've heard some experts talk about
[00:13:41.660]is one of the important ways to bring healing is to-
[00:13:52.930]Somehow I got muted, sorry.
[00:13:58.450]Another thing experts recommend is creating safeguards
[00:14:02.600]so that these abuses never happen again,
[00:14:06.430]sort of the shorthand for that would be never again,
[00:14:10.330]you know, that we often use
[00:14:12.130]when we talk about the Holocaust,
[00:14:15.600]but, you know, those are a big set of general principles.
[00:14:18.530]And I think reconciliation is, you know,
[00:14:23.400]it's really has to happen in particular places
[00:14:26.560]and it has to be tailored to the specific peoples
[00:14:31.090]and communities involved in that.
[00:14:33.335]So I wanna turn it over to Kevin,
[00:14:35.290]and see what you have to say as well.
[00:14:37.910]That about encompasses it, thank you, Margaret.
[00:14:40.550]A couple of things I might add
[00:14:41.650]is just repatriation of Native artifacts and remains,
[00:14:45.840]I think is certainly one positive step
[00:14:51.310]You know, in Nebraska, in the past few years,
[00:14:53.230]we've seen a number of things happen toward this effort.
[00:14:57.260]One was putting tribal flags in the state capital,
[00:15:00.882]in the main senators room.
[00:15:04.710]And, you know, a number of other things
[00:15:06.820]we're talking about this year is allowing Native people
[00:15:10.260]to wear regalia, especially Native students
[00:15:12.320]at high school graduation ceremonies.
[00:15:14.860]And just recognizing the history
[00:15:16.700]of the Genoa Boarding School here in Nebraska.
[00:15:19.350]That's another bill that was recently,
[00:15:21.100]resolution rather that was passed by the legislature.
[00:15:25.010]These are all really positive steps
[00:15:26.560]toward just first of all, recognizing, you know,
[00:15:29.470]our history here in Nebraska,
[00:15:31.630]and how our Native people have been treated,
[00:15:34.647]and just trying to give them a seat at the table.
[00:15:36.900]Just trying to recognize that they they're still here,
[00:15:39.410]you know, they've survived,
[00:15:40.790]and putting up their flags is a really positive thing
[00:15:44.530]in the state senators chambers,
[00:15:46.450]because what it says is that Native people
[00:15:49.870]hold a special place here,
[00:15:51.570]they're sovereign nations within a nation.
[00:15:54.752]They're not just a constituency.
[00:15:57.020]They're not just a lobbying interest.
[00:16:00.090]You know, they're a distinct population within our state
[00:16:05.630]that holds a special place in history.
[00:16:08.380]So I think that's a real positive change.
[00:16:14.290]Excellent, thank you both.
[00:16:16.370]And taking a sort of broad view now,
[00:16:19.710]what does reconciliation mean?
[00:16:21.840]Like what does the word mean and how do we define it?
[00:16:29.070]Okay, I'll take another stab at that.
[00:16:32.650]So I think, you know, people started using this term,
[00:16:37.140]especially truth and reconciliation,
[00:16:39.130]in the post World War II era.
[00:16:41.927]And I think it was because obviously,
[00:16:47.800]you know, scholars and activists
[00:16:49.320]were trying to find a way to deal
[00:16:51.330]with something so horrific as the Holocaust.
[00:16:56.440]And I think reconciliation is a process and a practice
[00:17:04.360]for dealing with some atrocities
[00:17:07.277]that have involved so many people,
[00:17:09.240]have involved so many victims and so many perpetrators,
[00:17:12.240]and so many beneficiaries
[00:17:14.353]that it's impossible to prosecute them all
[00:17:18.070]through our legal system.
[00:17:20.180]And so it's a method to try to bring healing and justice
[00:17:25.810]after there's been conflict and division.
[00:17:29.780]And, you know, there's other names for it too,
[00:17:33.640]like restorative justice, transitional justice,
[00:17:39.430]I've seen reparative justice.
[00:17:41.770]And some people don't like the term reconciliation.
[00:17:45.590]They might use terms like reparation or repair,
[00:17:53.474]or redress is another term that people like to use.
[00:17:56.060]So there's a lot of different terms for it,
[00:17:58.230]but I do think it's not something
[00:17:59.650]we talk about a lot in the United States.
[00:18:01.850]It's something that Canadians and Australians,
[00:18:04.812]and many people, obviously South Africans
[00:18:08.028]have talked about reconciliation.
[00:18:13.030]But I think it's a term that could be really useful to us
[00:18:15.946]on the Great Plains, in the United States,
[00:18:18.980]as we try to reckon with these histories and move forward
[00:18:22.252]and create some sort of healing and justice from them.
[00:18:29.700]Great, you know, where I grew up in South Dakota,
[00:18:32.450]there was a governor, oh, some 40 years ago or so now,
[00:18:36.460]George Mickelson, who later died in a plane crash,
[00:18:39.720]unfortunately, he was a fairly beloved man there.
[00:18:43.730]He had called, back in 1994, a Year of Reconciliation,
[00:18:49.600]and later on a Century of Reconciliation,
[00:18:52.050]and something that the state legislature there
[00:18:57.930]And it was a pretty incredible idea.
[00:19:00.134]This would be an effort to really try to reverse
[00:19:03.910]some of the terrible impacts of colonialism
[00:19:08.930]on the Native people of South Dakota.
[00:19:10.920]And would it started of course, you know,
[00:19:13.150]with the more symbolic things like, you know,
[00:19:16.790]changing Columbus Day to Native American Day
[00:19:18.850]and making it a holiday,
[00:19:20.500]that's something that hasn't happened here in Nebraska.
[00:19:22.380]I know we recognize Native American Day in Nebraska,
[00:19:25.360]but it hasn't replaced Columbus Day,
[00:19:27.550]nor is it a holiday on its own.
[00:19:30.806]So things that I think should happen, but in any case,
[00:19:34.460]it started with these more sort of symbolic efforts.
[00:19:37.400]And this is kind of what we're seeing in Nebraska
[00:19:39.050]a little bit now,
[00:19:40.260]but it shifted fairly quickly to real tangible efforts
[00:19:45.830]to really improve the lives
[00:19:48.160]of Native people living in the state,
[00:19:50.690]educational reforms and, you know,
[00:19:54.100]efforts to improve the healthcare and the justice systems
[00:19:58.457]that exist within reservations,
[00:20:01.094]to the extent that the state can do that.
[00:20:04.220]Obviously, these are sovereign nations and federal lands
[00:20:07.060]that we're talking about,
[00:20:07.893]but they can certainly help in some regards, so.
[00:20:11.070]That's a shift that I haven't seen quite happen
[00:20:13.060]in Nebraska a great deal.
[00:20:15.140]It doesn't seem like there's really any impetus,
[00:20:20.571]any momentum toward trying to enact
[00:20:23.780]some real, tangible reform,
[00:20:25.900]some tangible, positive changes for Native communities.
[00:20:28.690]In fact, I would say that there's still a lot of animosity
[00:20:31.580]between our state leaders and a lot of our tribes,
[00:20:34.670]especially like the Winnebago and the Omaha,
[00:20:37.460]where there have been jurisdictional issues
[00:20:40.230]and issues with taxation, like gas tax and tobacco tax.
[00:20:47.640]So, there's a lot of room for improvement here,
[00:20:51.232]and much more work to be done for certain.
[00:20:53.640]But, I think these first steps of recognizing the past
[00:20:58.326]it's a good step forward.
[00:21:04.173]Great, thank you.
[00:21:05.006]And you mentioned some of them,
[00:21:06.410]but are there any other examples
[00:21:08.200]of some reconciliation efforts?
[00:21:13.750]Yeah, well, Kevin and I, back in September,
[00:21:17.140]we went to a ceremony in Longmont, Colorado
[00:21:21.780]that we filmed for our film,
[00:21:23.710]that's about the return of land
[00:21:25.680]to Native people by non-Natives.
[00:21:27.750]And that was really something.
[00:21:30.890]The city of Longmont,
[00:21:31.960]which is a small city in Northern Colorado, near Boulder,
[00:21:36.572]they formed a sister city relationship
[00:21:40.230]with the Northern Arapaho Tribe or Nation
[00:21:43.341]that's on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
[00:21:47.010]And we hope that that might result eventually down the line
[00:21:54.020]in return of land by some people, either individuals
[00:21:57.560]or maybe even the city of Longmont to the Northern Arapaho,
[00:22:02.500]but it was really incredibly moving to go to that ceremony.
[00:22:05.900]I mean, we were just there to document it,
[00:22:07.670]but I was just sort of standing there,
[00:22:09.540]like weeping as it was happening,
[00:22:11.420]because I think the most moving possible moment for me
[00:22:16.330]was when the current chair or co-chair of the tribe,
[00:22:21.090]Lee Spoonhunter got up on stage to speak.
[00:22:26.310]And he just simply said, "we are home".
[00:22:30.110]And I just lost it.
[00:22:31.820]I mean, it was so incredibly moving
[00:22:33.500]because there have been like very genuine relationships
[00:22:40.830]formed between city officials
[00:22:44.050]and members of the sister city organization in Longmont
[00:22:48.130]with people on the Northern Arapaho reservation
[00:22:53.050]and in the nation,
[00:22:54.010]and they were constantly doing youth exchanges,
[00:22:57.890]even during the pandemic,
[00:22:59.250]they were trying to continue these efforts.
[00:23:01.980]So that to me was a really amazing moment of reconciliation.
[00:23:06.870]Kevin, maybe you wanna share some others?
[00:23:10.765]Wanted to share one story that we heard from Roger Welsh,
[00:23:15.780]who was of course, a noted historian folklorist author
[00:23:19.170]here in Nebraska.
[00:23:21.031]Our first podcast that we did for a "Reconciliation Rising"
[00:23:24.650]was an interview with Roger Welsh in his town of Dannebrog.
[00:23:29.880]And we got to visit his 60 acre property
[00:23:32.960]that he had donated or gifted to to the Pawnee people,
[00:23:37.590]I would say, maybe even returned to the Pawnee people.
[00:23:41.540]And he told this really moving story about this.
[00:23:45.320]There's a lot of background here.
[00:23:46.510]I don't go into great detail,
[00:23:47.920]just suffice to say that Roger had stood up for the Pawnees
[00:23:52.980]when they were seeking the remains of their ancestors
[00:23:55.060]many years ago from the Nebraska State Historical Society,
[00:24:00.350]and as a result of that had become a beloved member,
[00:24:03.330]you know, an adopted member their tribe.
[00:24:07.460]And he said, when the Pawnees needed a place
[00:24:09.740]to rebury their ancestors in Nebraska,
[00:24:12.325]he offered to allow them to do so on his property,
[00:24:15.888]out in Dannebrog.
[00:24:16.980]So they came and he said a lot of the men,
[00:24:19.560]the headmen that came were dressed in suits
[00:24:22.200]and, you know, long braids that flowed down
[00:24:27.850]the front of their chest there.
[00:24:29.557]And they walked to the edge of the sort of the bank
[00:24:32.980]that overlooked the Loop River there,
[00:24:34.900]that runs beside Roger's property.
[00:24:37.635]And he said, and I think his quote was something like,
[00:24:41.750]you know, I had to watch as these men, these proud men,
[00:24:44.810]walk down to the river,
[00:24:46.080]and just started wading into the water.
[00:24:48.235]And they started pouring the water over their heads
[00:24:51.446]and drinking the water and crying, you know,
[00:24:54.170]their tears just kind of melting into the water.
[00:24:57.557]And he said, I went home that night,
[00:24:58.620]and my wife and I, Linda,
[00:25:01.850]we realized that they weren't visiting us on our land.
[00:25:05.250]We were visiting them on theirs.
[00:25:07.350]And they decided that night
[00:25:08.570]to give their land back to the Pawnee.
[00:25:11.710]You know, honestly, it's that story
[00:25:13.317]that in many ways launched everything we're doing right now.
[00:25:17.900]The movie, and just so much of what we're doing right now,
[00:25:21.600]and it just spoke volumes, I guess,
[00:25:25.139]about what real reconciliation means, you know, so.
[00:25:32.600]And just with the last couple of minutes
[00:25:34.300]that we have here, what can participants expect
[00:25:38.000]if they join us for our year long series?
[00:25:43.640]Well, you know, once we turned our three day conference
[00:25:48.780]into a year long series, we gave it a subtitle,
[00:25:54.160]and the subtitle is
[00:25:55.687]"Learning, Conversation, and Connecting".
[00:25:58.960]So I think that's a really good reflection
[00:26:01.610]of what we hope the year will be.
[00:26:04.060]So we have an amazing lineup of speakers
[00:26:08.665]who will be coming throughout the year,
[00:26:12.830]either virtually or in person.
[00:26:15.758]And we'll be learning a lot from them.
[00:26:21.600]They include people like Walter Echo-Hawk,
[00:26:24.270]the President of the Pawnee nation right now,
[00:26:26.420]who we interviewed for our film with Roger.
[00:26:30.690]They include Tristan Ahtone, a member of the Kiowa Nation
[00:26:34.650]who has written a lot
[00:26:36.100]about what he calls land grab universities,
[00:26:39.318]instead of land grant universities.
[00:26:42.590]We have Hannibal Johnson coming,
[00:26:46.560]he's led efforts in the city of Tulsa
[00:26:49.300]to commemorate and remember what happened in the race riot,
[00:26:54.930]or I'm sorry, race massacre that occurred there.
[00:26:59.260]We have Paula Palmer,
[00:27:01.720]who I see her name on the screen today.
[00:27:04.590]And Geralinda Cotto will be leading a workshop
[00:27:08.230]in a couple, well, actually it's next week, I think,
[00:27:10.980]is that next week?
[00:27:12.526]That's about helping all of us to understand
[00:27:17.529]what happened on this continent
[00:27:20.860]with colonialism and dispossession.
[00:27:25.281]So we have these provocative speakers and events
[00:27:28.010]going on throughout the year.
[00:27:30.030]We also hope to have a lot of discussion,
[00:27:33.430]a lot of interaction,
[00:27:35.262]conversations with one another about these topics.
[00:27:40.100]These are not topics that you can just sort of sit back
[00:27:43.420]and be spoken to.
[00:27:45.880]We really invite a lot of conversation.
[00:27:48.526]And the other thing you could expect
[00:27:50.953]is connecting with other people
[00:27:53.700]and creating a community of people
[00:27:55.820]who are interested in these topics.
[00:27:58.890]Kevin, do you have anything you wanted to add to that?
[00:28:02.740]No, just that I hope that,
[00:28:04.000]and I know these conferences, these workshops
[00:28:08.180]will be an opportunity for all of us hopefully,
[00:28:11.610]to speak, you know, honestly, and with our hearts
[00:28:14.630]about these very difficult topics.
[00:28:18.430]You know, one of the things
[00:28:19.980]that I really enjoyed doing with Margaret
[00:28:23.564]was when we visited Boulder and we got to attend
[00:28:26.223]our first Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change workshop,
[00:28:30.610]which is the workshop that'll be happening here in a week.
[00:28:32.730]And workshop is really powerful.
[00:28:35.150]And I always describe walking into the room
[00:28:37.190]where this workshop happened and, you know,
[00:28:38.940]there was maybe some incense burning
[00:28:41.300]and some kind of new age music, a little bit.
[00:28:43.470]And I was worried this was gonna be
[00:28:44.530]like a yoga session or something.
[00:28:46.710]And, you know, I'd feel really kind of awkward about it.
[00:28:50.340]But very quickly I realized
[00:28:52.030]that this was very somber, very serious
[00:28:53.930]and very, very informed workshop
[00:28:58.540]that really, really dug deep
[00:29:00.380]into the history of assimilation and genocide
[00:29:03.870]and boarding schools.
[00:29:06.050]And when I was done with it,
[00:29:07.190]I realized for the first time in my life
[00:29:09.327]that somebody had had acknowledged, you know,
[00:29:14.656]my historical trauma as an Indigenous person of this land.
[00:29:18.620]And so that's my hope with this conference,
[00:29:21.410]that this will be an effort and acknowledgement
[00:29:24.030]of this historical trauma that has occurred
[00:29:26.270]and affected so many of my people,
[00:29:28.350]but not just my people, you know,
[00:29:30.228]African American people, Hispanic people,
[00:29:33.960]you know, we all suffer from these things, I think.
[00:29:36.030]And so hopefully this will be
[00:29:37.987]a positive step in that direction.
[00:29:44.880]Great, thank you both.
[00:29:46.100]I dropped the link for both "Reconciliation Rising"
[00:29:49.590]and the rest of the series of events in the chat,
[00:29:54.030]but it's also at go.unl.edu/gp2022,
[00:29:59.810]since it's our theme for the whole year.
[00:30:03.163]is there anything else you'd like to add?
[00:30:06.995]Do we have time for any comments or questions?
[00:30:10.040]Yeah, sure, if people wanna stick around, absolutely.
[00:30:13.560]Sure, feel free to stick around and ask questions,
[00:30:15.900]or if you have to go, we understand that too, so.
[00:30:18.227]You can also drop 'em in the chat and I will see them.
[00:30:27.240]Hi, I've been a teacher all my life,
[00:30:31.140]and I'm really concerned about,
[00:30:33.705]I think teaching is the primary way of engaging people
[00:30:38.130]in terms of reconciliation,
[00:30:41.001]and workshops, but I think that's maybe
[00:30:44.020]a form of teaching too,
[00:30:46.010]but I just see a huge amount of resistance
[00:30:49.710]coming out to saying, you know,
[00:30:53.934]reconciliation means we have to be able
[00:30:56.780]to engage what's uncomfortable in our past
[00:31:00.810]and the events that have happened.
[00:31:03.230]And there's a huge movement up to sort of block that,
[00:31:08.880]that somehow education, you know, if a kid says,
[00:31:13.940]oh, I feel uncomfortable with this,
[00:31:15.790]that we should get rid of it.
[00:31:18.480]And so my concern is really with some of those aspects of,
[00:31:22.736]you know, how do we engage that,
[00:31:24.990]and how do we mobilize really against
[00:31:27.369]that kind of really muzzling of education?
[00:31:39.490]Kevin, do you wanna take that one?
[00:31:40.950]Sure, you know, this whole effort
[00:31:43.040]to really try to eradicate-
[00:31:46.660]sorry, my light keeps blinking here,
[00:31:48.606]it's trying to tell me something,
[00:31:49.760]but this whole effort to eradicate Critical Race Theory,
[00:31:53.790]I think is having some
[00:31:54.730]incredibly disastrous effects in our classrooms.
[00:31:58.206]You know, I'm married to a third grade teacher
[00:32:00.480]here in Lincoln and it's been just terrifying, really,
[00:32:07.100]for educators here in Lincoln,
[00:32:08.700]for educators really everywhere.
[00:32:10.605]They're just really concerned about,
[00:32:12.400]sorry, I'm just gonna switch this off.
[00:32:14.170]They're really concerned about what impact
[00:32:15.820]this is gonna have ultimately in our classrooms,
[00:32:17.844]and it already is having an impact.
[00:32:20.130]I think the educators are just staying away
[00:32:22.190]from anything that might be divisive or uncomfortable
[00:32:24.339]for any of their students.
[00:32:26.219]This isn't the time to do that.
[00:32:28.890]I mean, if we're really gonna try to oppose this effort
[00:32:32.800]to get rid of CRT,
[00:32:34.750]I think we just have to stand our ground, you know,
[00:32:37.240]and understand that we have other's backs.
[00:32:40.050]That that would be my call.
[00:32:41.040]Just take courage, you know, and know that, you know,
[00:32:43.603]if something does come back on you,
[00:32:47.030]that I really believe that our administrators,
[00:32:50.080]for the most part are gonna support us, I hope,
[00:32:52.798]and that there'll be others with spines,
[00:32:56.160]hopefully who will have our backs.
[00:32:57.590]I don't know what else to say that other
[00:32:58.820]than just take courage and speak your truth
[00:33:02.907]and speak what you believe to be true.
[00:33:04.470]This is just history.
[00:33:05.440]I mean, we can try to spin it any way we want
[00:33:10.220]in order to fit whatever political spectrum we fall on.
[00:33:12.940]But in the end, it's just truth.
[00:33:14.510]You know, truth is truth.
[00:33:15.720]And we're this whole effort
[00:33:17.500]toward trying to create an alternative universe of facts
[00:33:20.680]is just so disastrous for our society.
[00:33:23.040]So hopefully those of us who really believe in truth
[00:33:26.190]and want to stand on the side of truth
[00:33:28.060]can stand up and be strong.
[00:33:30.991]I would just add that as a historian, you know,
[00:33:35.220]I faced this many times over my career, you know,
[00:33:40.200]in the 80's, the 90's, 2000's, 2010's,
[00:33:45.520]there's always some sort of uproar over something.
[00:33:50.190]And I was recently reading a lot about the efforts
[00:33:54.700]to teach what happened at Sand Creek in Colorado,
[00:33:58.670]a massacre that occurred there in 1862.
[00:34:01.510]I grew up in Colorado, so this is really close to my heart,
[00:34:03.870]'cause I never learned a thing about it as a child.
[00:34:06.870]And so I know that there were efforts
[00:34:11.984]to get something about Sand Creek
[00:34:14.638]into the AP History textbooks that were used.
[00:34:19.998]And there were school districts,
[00:34:23.566]very large school districts in the Denver area.
[00:34:25.980]I believe, I might be wrong here,
[00:34:27.970]I believe it's Jefferson County,
[00:34:29.625]and the school board was upset about this.
[00:34:33.450]They didn't want to talk about this.
[00:34:35.290]And they still declared that this was a battle,
[00:34:38.430]not a massacre.
[00:34:39.890]And so they banned their teachers from using this textbook
[00:34:44.760]or using this portion of the textbook.
[00:34:47.260]And you know, my thought first was like,
[00:34:49.440]what are the rest of the students?
[00:34:50.990]They're not learning about Sand Creek either,
[00:34:54.262]but I was just really buoyed by the fact
[00:34:57.630]that students walked out of these high schools
[00:35:01.610]in Jefferson County, they did a massive march,
[00:35:04.815]in protest that they were being denied
[00:35:08.077]the truth of this history,
[00:35:10.300]and some of their teachers joined them.
[00:35:13.720]So I do think that even though
[00:35:15.620]the people who oppose the teaching of this kind of history
[00:35:19.540]are very vocal, very loud.
[00:35:22.020]I think there's is a lot of hunger among many of us,
[00:35:26.410]many Americans, to face up to these histories,
[00:35:29.940]to not be afraid of them.
[00:35:33.012]One thing Kevin and I find in our work,
[00:35:35.304]is that people who are engaged in this kind of work,
[00:35:38.994]it's not about shame and humiliation or guilt.
[00:35:43.110]It's about creating really positive relationships
[00:35:47.700]and positive change.
[00:35:51.480]So I don't see it as something to be afraid of.
[00:35:56.600]I agree with Kevin completely,
[00:35:58.150]that we need to stand our ground on this
[00:36:00.091]and know that there are many, many people out there
[00:36:06.270]who want to know this history,
[00:36:07.840]who want to deal with this history,
[00:36:09.470]who want to promote reconciliation.
[00:36:17.940]Thanks, both of you.
[00:36:18.996]There was a question in the chat
[00:36:19.829]that was a little along the similar lines,
[00:36:21.510]talking about Critical Race Theory as well.
[00:36:25.300]If there's anything else you'd like to add, feel free.
[00:36:32.386]Oh, sorry, I had a thought there
[00:36:35.159]and then it kind of escaped me,
[00:36:35.992]but I was just gonna say that, you know,
[00:36:42.660]I have five kids and the oldest just started at UNL.
[00:36:46.530]The other four are still in elementary,
[00:36:48.910]all the way up to high school.
[00:36:51.130]You know, every day that they go to school
[00:36:53.890]and don't hear their history, Indigenous history,
[00:36:57.980]incorporated into really any of the curriculum
[00:37:01.000]for the most part, other than, you know,
[00:37:03.820]just a few lessons here and there,
[00:37:05.860]about maybe a mention of the boarding schools
[00:37:08.790]or the fact that the Iroquois Confederacy
[00:37:11.661]was the basis for the Constitution or something like that.
[00:37:17.300]They don't hear that honest history of their people
[00:37:20.130]that I give them, that my wife gives them at home.
[00:37:24.150]They start to feel like they're being erased
[00:37:26.530]and they feel very uncomfortable about that.
[00:37:30.190]So this idea that, you know,
[00:37:32.660]we don't want to ever make our students feel uncomfortable
[00:37:35.512]and never speak any sort of truth in them
[00:37:38.770]that would make them feel bad about where they come from,
[00:37:41.280]or the history of their own people,
[00:37:43.360]just understand that every time
[00:37:44.633]we fail to acknowledge this history,
[00:37:47.290]we're making somebody feel uncomfortable.
[00:37:49.400]So at some point we just have to accept
[00:37:52.030]that history is sometimes uncomfortable for,
[00:37:54.280]you know, depending on, you know,
[00:37:56.940]what history it is, I guess, so.
[00:38:03.130]Thanks so much, Kevin.
[00:38:07.240]Another question in the chat, Margaret,
[00:38:09.230]I'm not sure if you wanna check that out.
[00:38:12.950]Oh yeah, well, thank you Katie, for the question.
[00:38:15.432]If those of you are not reading the chat,
[00:38:18.306]Katie asks, Katie Carranza.
[00:38:22.790]Can you explain more about
[00:38:24.050]who reconciliation should occur between?
[00:38:27.350]Is it between settlers and Indigenous people?
[00:38:29.390]Is it between all oppressed and oppressors?
[00:38:32.240]What are the spatial and temporal scales
[00:38:34.660]of the focus of this series?
[00:38:37.460]So, you know, reconciliation is something
[00:38:41.600]that's a useful concept for all sorts of different divides.
[00:38:48.210]So Jess Shoemaker, who's on our program committee,
[00:38:52.344]who's a law professor at UNL.
[00:38:55.320]She has a rural reconciliation project
[00:38:58.336]that is to help heal the divides, I believe,
[00:39:01.710]I'm probably gonna butcher this Jessica,
[00:39:03.800]but to heal the divides
[00:39:05.270]between rural and non rural Americans,
[00:39:07.540]especially in our state,
[00:39:09.290]and to bring greater awareness of the issues
[00:39:12.650]that rural people face and sort of, you know,
[00:39:16.541]help to bridge those divides.
[00:39:18.936]So it can be between lots of different groups.
[00:39:22.470]And one of the things that Kevin and I learned too,
[00:39:27.370]another interview we did was with Art and Helen Tanderup,
[00:39:31.873]who are a white farm couple
[00:39:34.530]who have returned 10 acres of land to the Ponca people.
[00:39:38.640]And the Ponca, as many of you may know,
[00:39:40.770]this history were divided by Federal Indian Policy,
[00:39:45.930]and their dispossession of their land
[00:39:49.880]and their exile from Nebraska.
[00:39:52.268]They were divided into a Northern and a Southern group.
[00:39:56.160]And when the Northern and Southern Ponca
[00:39:59.450]have come back to this land,
[00:40:01.570]that the Tanderups have returned to them.
[00:40:05.740]They talked about Larry Wright Jr., who was at the time,
[00:40:10.120]the chair of the Northern Ponca tribe,
[00:40:12.540]told us that this land return
[00:40:14.900]wasn't just about reconciliation
[00:40:16.770]between the Tanderups and the Poncas,
[00:40:19.330]or between white settlers and the Poncas,
[00:40:21.640]but between the Northern and the Southern Poncas
[00:40:24.290]who'd been divided by these policies.
[00:40:28.780]So it's enormously complicated, you know,
[00:40:33.900]there's all sorts of healing that needs to happen.
[00:40:39.730]And it often needs to happen at this very intimate level,
[00:40:43.970]this very local and grassroots level.
[00:40:47.000]So you ask about the spatial and temporal scales
[00:40:49.740]of the focus of this series.
[00:40:52.190]I would say almost everything we're talking about
[00:40:54.620]is kind of looking from the 19th century up to the present,
[00:41:00.506]and we're trying to stick with the Great Plains,
[00:41:02.990]although we're very much informed
[00:41:04.980]by what's happening in other places.
[00:41:07.620]Is that correct, Kevin?
[00:41:11.720]Yeah, it does seem like, you know,
[00:41:13.530]all of our workshops and presenters are discussing things,
[00:41:16.798]you know, at the earliest around the 19th century and on,
[00:41:20.664]and the Great Plains.
[00:41:29.733]And we'll have a full list of the presenters in the summit.
[00:41:33.970]We're still having this virtual summit in April.
[00:41:36.820]That will be three days long,
[00:41:38.100]and it will get pretty in depth.
[00:41:40.080]And we'll have a full list of those presenters
[00:41:42.230]on our website soon,
[00:41:43.640]with descriptions of the talks and the schedule.
[00:41:53.640]Any other questions?
[00:42:00.350]Okay, well, we hope to see all of you back
[00:42:03.660]for some additional events throughout the year.
[00:42:06.400]We really appreciate you coming to this one,
[00:42:09.580]our kickoff one, we will be posting this
[00:42:11.410]so other people can hear
[00:42:12.360]some of the background about this conference,
[00:42:15.500]but we thank you so much,
[00:42:16.740]and we'll hope to see you again soon.
[00:42:20.422]Thank you everybody.
Thank you Katie.
[00:42:21.330]Thanks to Kevin and Margaret too, thank you.
[00:42:23.043]Thank you, Katie.
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