ONEONTA, N.Y. -- The SUNY College at Oneonta will offer a year-long series of events highlighting the contributions of contemporary Native Americans to the fields of education, literature, science, art, and film as part of a grant-funded project entitled "Restoring Indigenous Presence: Opening the Door to Native Americans."
Freida Jacques, an Onondaga Nation leader and home/school liaison for the Onondaga Nation School, will kick off the series with a discussion of the bridge between her culture and the many educational institutions of central New York at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, October 26, in Hunt Union Ballroom. Admission to the event is complimentary, and members of the community are invited to attend.
Funded by a $10,000 SUNY Diversity and Academic Excellence Grant from the SUNY Office of Diversity and Educational Equity, "Opening Doors" is designed to open a dialogue about restoring the presence of Native Americans to Oneonta and welcoming the diverse voices and perspectives of Native Americans to the SUNY Oneonta campus.
The project was developed by an interdisciplinary faculty and staff team at SUNY Oneonta, including project directors Susan Bernardin of the English and Women's and Gender Studies departments; Patrice Macaluso and Andrew Kahl of the Theatre Department; Cecilia Zapata of the Office of Equity and Inclusion; Kathy Meeker and Tanja DeMauro of the Grants Development Office; Dale Capristo of the Center for Multicultural Experiences; and Mary Lynn Bensen of the Milne Library.
Upcoming events in the series include a Native American film series; a campus visit and lecture by Anishinaabe poet Heid Erdrich; and a campus visit and lecture by Potawatomi educator Robin Kimmerer, associate professor of environmental and forest biology and director of the Center for Native Peoples and Environment at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
"Opening Doors" will also sponsor an arts residency with Eric Gansworth, an award-winning Onondaga writer, playwright, and visual artist. During two campus visits in the spring semester, Gansworth will present lectures, visit classes, and work with SUNY Oneonta faculty and students to produce acollaborative, public, multi-media theater performance. In addition, the Project Space Gallery at SUNY Oneonta will host an exhibition of Gansworth's paintings.
The programming provided through the grant is designed to foster a campus community that is deliberately inclusive of Native American participants, and that attracts, serves, and celebrates the potential of Native American students and faculty.
All of the events in the series are free and open to the public. More information about the series is available from Dr. Bernardin at (607) 436-3225.