Wisconsin Indian issues symposium at UWP

October 22, 2002

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PLATTEVILLE - A symposium on contemporary Wisconsin Indian issues and Act 31 will be held Friday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville Harry and Laura Nohr Art Gallery.

The symposium is in its third year at UWP, according to Carl Allsup, director of the Ethnic Studies Program. Participants will learn how Act 31 provides knowledge and resources to prospective teachers as they take information back to their local classrooms.

Act 31 is a mandate that has been in place for 10 years by Wisconsin law and is a state-mandated study of the historical, cultural and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin Indian peoples.

Local school districts have been required to include the provisions of Wisconsin Senate Bill 31 in their local school curriculum since September 1, 1991. Teachers are responsible to instruct about Wisconsin Indian peoples in public schools, Allsup added.

Very few universities in Wisconsin carry out the responsibility of educating public school teachers, except in a most minimal way, said Allsup. UWP is an exception, with its proactive stance, he added.

A number of faculty members spearheaded this year's symposium, in conjunction with the UW System American Indian Studies Consortium, of which Allsup is a member.

Tribal educators, American Indian academic educators and other interested groups organize the event, said Allsup. Participants will learn what is appropriate and comprehensive education about Wisconsin Indian peoples.

Speaker highlight of the event, said Allsup, will be Alan Caldwell, as Wisconsin Indian person who has been at the center of the campaign to develop and implement Act 31 for the past 30 years.

Caldwell serves as dean of student services, College of the Menominee Nation and as director of the Menominee Culture Institute. He is a former Indian education specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Other presenters include Ron Satz, provost of UW-Eau Claire, who will speak on Wisconsin Education Act 31.

Ojibwe tribe member Jim St. Arnold will share information about Wisconsin Indian communities.

Denise Sweet and Odawa White, also Ojibwe tribe members, will provide discussions on Indian literature and Act 31 and a history of Lac Courte Oreilles. The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe tribe established an ad hoc commission on racism to examine relationships between Indian and non-Indian communities in northern Wisconsin in 1983.

The symposium is held in conjunction with the fourth annual Traditional Pow Wow set for 1 p.m. Saturday in Williams Fieldhouse.

The UW-Platteville Foundation, Indigenous Ethnic Studies Program, College of Liberal Arts and Education and the Teaching Excellence Center sponsor the symposium and the pow wow.

The Ojibwe of Wisconsin signed three major land treaties with the United States in 1837, 1842 and 1854, ceding their entire homeland to the U.S. and establishing reservations for four Ojibwe bands in the state.

In each treaty, the Ojibwe have retained their rights to hunt, fish and gather on ceded lands in Wisconsin.

The Harry and Laura Nohr Gallery is located in the lower level of the Ullsvik Center on the campus' southeast corner on Hickory Street.

The University community and the public are cordially invited to the event. For further information, please call 608-342-1705.

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