Dedicated to the tradition of Native American cultural advocacy, the Native American Symposium is a campus conference that highlights and shares the experiences of the largest cultural minority in Oklahoma. The goal of the Native American Symposium Committee is to further the dialogue between three main participant groups: members of Indian Nations; members of the public community; and members of the academic community. As a cultural bridge between these different communities, the symposium aims to provide an intensive study of Native American cultures and to raise more interest in and awareness of ethnic identities in Oklahoma. In order to share such knowledge and to appeal to the public, the symposium presents lectures, round-table discussions, film viewings, art exhibits, dances and music performances, and readings of Native American literature and poetry. In other words, the symposium presents a variety of textual productions by and about Native Americans and considers these “texts” as a kind of cultural knowledge uniquely available in this area.
The Native American symposium Committee was formed in part because of the large population of Native Americans on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University and in the surrounding area. Roughly thirty percent of our students are registered Native Americans, mostly of Choctaw, Cherokee, and Creek decent. Our Committee was formed to highlight cultural issues concerning this student group, to cultivate an awareness and understanding of Native American culture, and to promote the advancement of Native American issues within the university and surrounding communities.