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Speaker Series, “More than Pocahontas and Squaws: Indigenous Women Coming into Visibility”
December 14, 2022 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
This visual presentation shows how Indigenous American women have contributed service to Arizona and the US yet were stereotyped in films and remain invisible in the media. Nevertheless, they have been honored in all areas of public service—law, medicine, literature, military and activism with awards such as, the Presidential Freedom, the McArthur (genius award), the Secretary of Interior, and others. Among some traditional tribal cultures, women’s lives are modeled after female heroes and sacred women who exemplify and express courage and kinship values. Rites of passage celebrate female creativity and the transformative nature of women, hence there was not a need for the concept of feminism. This talk presents cultural aspects of Indigenous culture and how women have contributed in significant ways, not only to their tribal nations, but to contemporary American life.
Laura Tohe is Diné and the current Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. She is Sleepy Rock People clan and born for the Bitter Water People clan and the daughter of a Navajo Code Talker. She published 3 books of poetry, an anthology of Native women’s writing and an oral history on the Navajo Code Talkers. Her librettos, Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio (2008) and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World (2021), performed in Arizona and France, respectively. Among her awards are the 2020 Academy of American Poetry Fellowship and the 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction from ASU.