Colorado State University Noon Speaker Series Features Talk by Native American Expert in Indigenous Oral Histories

An associate professor in Indian Studies at the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College will explore the manner and methods historians have used to interpret and classify North American history from noon-1 p.m. April 20 in Room 214 Lory Student Center.

Winona Stevenson will be the featured speaker at the presentation, titled "Native American Voices in History." The presentation, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Center for Applied Studies in American Ethnicity.

Historians who specialize in the indigenous past have been slow to recognize that indigenous oral histories offer fresh insights and valuable information, Stevenson said "Indigenous oral histories provide vital historical data and native interpretations and perspectives for a balanced account of the past," said Stevenson in a conversation from her offices in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. "It is just now being recognized that non-Indian written sources don’t provide any Indian perspective in what is supposed to be North American Indian history."

Few mainstream historians, Stevenson pointed out, bother to break out of their academic confines and training and explore oral histories. Quoting Native American scholar Donald Grinde, Stevenson said, "Native Americans are painfully aware that our history is perhaps the only branch of the discipline in which one does not need a thorough knowledge of the language, culture, traditions and philosophies of the people being studied."

Stevenson is Cree (Assiniboine, Saulteaux and Irish) and a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation, Koostatak, Manitoba.

For more information about this presentation and others in the Noon Speaker Series, contact CASAE at (970) 491-2418.