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WFU to host American Indian conference: 'Celebrating Women of Proud Nations'

December 14, 2006

Strengthening education, spirituality, health and entrepreneurship among American Indian women and their communities will be the focus of a four-day conference titled “Celebrating Women of Proud Nations:  Creating & Sustaining Hope for American Indian Women & Their Families” at Wake Forest University Jan. 18-21. 

The conference will feature cultural events, large group sessions, focus-action groups and workshops with American Indian community leaders and scholars from numerous Southeastern and other tribal nations.  Most of the conference will be held in Benson University Center.  Registration packets will provide detailed information on the conference schedule and locations.

Some of the conference highlights include the following:

Jan. 18:  Opening Night.  A reception and cultural evening with internationally acclaimed poet and musician Joy Harjo.  Harjo is Muskogee-Creek and will perform with other indigenous women writers from North Carolina.  The performance will include literary readings, storytelling and music.

Jan. 19:  Honoring Ceremony.  A ceremony honoring American Indian women elders, veterans and leaders who have contributed to promoting the American Indian culture through leadership and service.

Jan. 20:  Banquet and Keynote Address.  An event featuring Elder-in-Residence Henrietta Mann, a Southern Cheyenne and president of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College located on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, Okla.  Mann has been an American Indian educator for more than 35 years.  She is nationally known as an educational and spiritual leader.  In 1991, Rolling Stone magazine named her in its Honor Roll of Ten Top Professors.  She has also been Cheyenne Indian of the Year and National American Indian Woman of the Year.  Mann has consulted on several television and movie productions and served on many national boards, including the Board of Trustees for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

A variety of workshops will be offered during the conference including: “Stress and Its Effect on American Indian Women’s Health”; “Traditional Spirituality and Christianity: American Indian Women’s Perspectives”; “Infusing American Indian Art and Culture into the School Curriculum”; and “How to be Successful in Your Own Business (and Loving It).”

An American Indian Expo, featuring American Indian arts, crafts, and cultural information on spirituality and religious dialogue, personal health, entrepreneurship and education trends, will be held, and yoga classes will also be offered. 

The conference is supported by the department of Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University, the NATION Diversity Network at American Express and the following Wake Forest sponsors:  Fund for Leadership and Ethics; E.E. Folk Fund; Dillon Johnston Writers Reading Series; Women’s and Gender Studies program; Office of Multicultural Affairs; Office for Entrepreneurship and the Liberal Arts; Museum of  Anthropology; the department of religion; and the department of anthropology.

Registration is limited.  Conference registration includes a conference packet and admission to all conference sessions, two exercise and yoga classes, a cultural evening, two receptions and a Southern buffet-style banquet.  Cost is $150 general admission; $75 for American Indian elders and non-Wake Forest students. 

Wake Forest students and faculty can attend workshops for free; evening events cost $47 for faculty, $42 for students.

Certificates of attendance for continuing education credit are available for attendees for $10. 

For a complete conference schedule or to register, visit the Web site  For information, call (336) 758-5359.

Press Contacts:

Pam Barrett
(336) 758-5237

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237

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