Center for Ethnic Studies Annual Conference - Spring 2019



The Center for Ethnic Studies, with the support of the Communication Department, is pleased to host its annual conference. Open to students, faculty, staff, and community alike, this year's conference will focus on why the history of Native Americans is silenced, how the past can be a source for better understanding their present struggles, and what our educational system can do about this. Each of the four speakers will cover new angles and explore new ideas of these interesting and engaging topics.

A Certificate of Achievement will be offered to recognize those who attended at least two of the four sessions.



MONDAY, APRIL 15  |  9 AM-5 PM




The conference will touch on more than reclaiming the past for indigenous people.

  • Discuss the overarching problem of UW social history in education
  • Look into the deep roots of the problem to identify the gaze in the curriculum offered
  • Discuss the silenced past, and find a source of better understanding the present indigenous people's everyday struggles and agony
  • Find out what indigenous methodologies can be used to understand
  • Learn the value of teaching US history with the Natives, slavery and annexation

Heather Kind-Keppel

University Diversity and Inclusion Officer  |  UW-Parkside

9-10 AM 

The Lived Experience of Natives in Higher Education:
Tribal Colleges and Universities, and PWIs

11 AM-12 PM 

Indigenous Forms of Research Methodologies


Heather Kind-Keppel (Mohawk) 
Kind-Keppel is an associate instructor of Ethnic Studies, Political Science, and Sociology at UW-Parkside. She has a Master of Science in Counseling, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, a Bachelor of Arts in History, and is currently ABD. In January 2017 she developed and taught an Indigenous based, for credit curriculum that deconstructed the Dakota Access Pipeline issue. Heather Kind-Keppel is passionate about raising awareness of the omission of Natives in social justice curriculums, the experience of Natives who have attended both PWIs and TCUs, and consistently advocates for a voice to be heard in higher education settings.

J. P. Leary

Associate Professor 


1-2 PM 

Decolonizing Wisconsin History: The Story of Act 31


Dr. J P Leary (Cherokee/Delaware)
Dr. Leary serves as an Associate Professor in First Nations Studies, History, and Humanities, as a member of the graduate faculty in the Professional Program in Education, and as a faculty affiliate with the Education Center for First Nations Studies. He regularly teaches a variety of courses including Introduction to FNS: The Tribal World, American Indians in Film, Mohican Ethnohistory, First Nations and Education Policy, and the FNS Seminar. His primary research interests relate to curriculum policy, the history of education, and the representation and self-representation of Native people in education and popular culture. Dr. Leary is also the faculty advisor for Intertribal Student Council. Dr. J P Leary’s research and instruction on Wisconsin Education Act 31 informs us how the public’s lack of awareness and understanding of First Nations can incur a significant cost for our society. 

Andrea Carlson 

Visual Artist  |  Chicago, Illinois


2-3:30 PM

Native Women in Popular Films



Andrea Carlson (Ojibwe) 
Carlson is a visual artist from Chicago, Illinois, working in film, painting and museum intervention multi-media projects. Her work has been acquired by institutions such as the British Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker Art Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. She was a 2008 McKnight Fellow and a 2017 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors fellow.  Andrea Carlson will discuss the depictions of Native women in popular films and media are rife with stereotypes. The mythologizing force of Disney's Pocahontas (1995), the familiar posture of the Land 'O Lakes butter girl, and the "beautiful deaths" of a Native woman in The Revenant (2015) are examples of the ongoing Settler-Colonial image making that don't resemble the images Native women make of themselves. Andrea Carlson presents the history of the allegorical reduction of Native women and how Native-made media presents strategies that combat these persistent harmful depictions of Native women. 

Sasanehsaeh Pyawasay

Coordinator  |  UW-System


3:30-5 PM 

Transforming Educational Spaces to Reflect Indigenous Student's Experiences


Sasanehsaeh Pyawasay (Menominee)
Pyawasay is an educator, scholar activist, and the coordinator at the University of Wisconsin System. In her role is the principal resource for areas of strategic inportance related to the educational success of Native American students within the UW System. Sasanehsaeh is enrolled member of the Menominee Nation, and grew up on the Menominee Indian Reservation of Wisconsin. She has worked in education for over 11 years both with college and high school students in a variety of areas at UW-Madison and the University of Minnesota. Sasanehsaeh earned her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development from the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, and both her M.S. in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis and B.A. in Sociology from UW-Madison.

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