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Native Lands: Belonging and Reclaiming. An Obermann Conversation

Shelley Buffalo and Carrie Schuettpelz share their experiences as indigenous women who have thought hard about issues of belonging. Together, they'll consider what it means to belong to a Native American tribe, in terms of relationship to the land, the notorious blood quantum system for "measuring" someone's right to membership, and Indian cards. As people who have traveled far from home, living across the U.S. and abroad, they'll wonder together about how far and how long one can wander from home and still return. We'll talk about the purpose of land acknowledgements and what it means for three of the four tribes that still have land trusts in Iowa to have them in the form of a casino. And we'll dive into definitions of "land sovereignty" and the obstacles indigenous farmers face in reclaiming land.

Participants include:

Shelley Buffalo is Coordinator of the Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative. She was born near the Settlement and much of her extended family still lives in Tama County, but her own journey has led her away and back more than a dozen times. She is a trained visual artist who has a longtime identification with punk rock, as well as a deep dedication to restoring ancestral foods, including Meskwaki's Tama Flint Corn.

Carrie Schuettpelz is an enrolled member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and is at work on a book tentatively titled The Indian Card. Carrie is currently a Fellow of Practice in the UI's Public Policy Center and a Faculty Lecturer in the Rhetoric Department. She directs the Iowa First Nations Summer Program, an academic camp held at the UI, and is the Vice President of the UI's Native American Council. From 2009–2016, she was a homelessness policy advisor in the Obama Administration. She is a trained storyteller and teaches digital storytelling at a variety of levels.

This program is cosponsored by the Iowa City Public Library and the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.

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