The prestigious Vine Deloria Jr. Distinguished Indigenous Scholars Series is underway at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Presented by the university's American Indian Studies (AIS) Program, the series was created as a tribute to the late Vine Deloria Jr, an inspirational scholar in American Indian Studies. Starting in the fall of 2008, the AIS program put together a series of lectures, from writers, activists, tribal leaders and scholars. The series, which is now in its fifth year, is held annually.
The next scheduled lecture will be by Dr. Suzan Shown Harjo on March 28. Harjo, Cheyenne/Hodulgee Muscogee, is an award-winning poet, writer, lecturer, curator and policy advocate, who has helped Native peoples protect sacred places and recover more than one million acres of land. She has helped develop key laws over four decades of work to promote and protect Native nations, sovereignty, children, arts, cultures and languages, including the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, National Museum of the American Indian Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and the executive order on Indian sacred sites. She is also a frequent contributor to ICTMN; you can read one of her recent columns here.
The final speaker in this year's series will be Dr. Thomas Holm, who will present on April 25. Holm, Creek/Cherokee, came to the University of Arizona in 1980 as an assistant professor in the department of political science. He was promoted to full professor in 1995. In 1982, professor Holm, Robert K. Thomas, Larry Evers, Vine Deloria Jr., Emory Sekaquaptewa and N. Scott Momaday devloped the graduate program in American Studies at UArizona. In 1994, Holm transferred full-time to the AIS program. He has taught more than 15 Native-related courses, nine of which he developed.
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