“Weaving Indigenous Language Through Family, Education & Community” is the theme for the sixth Minnesota Indigenous Language Symposium, which will focus on programs working to preserve language and culture.

Wes Studi

Wes Studi, the Cherokee actor, language activist and honorary board member of the Indigenous Language Institute, will be the keynote speaker on the first day of the event.

“The symposium brings together members of the indigenous language community in the common goal of revitalizing and celebrating the first languages of this land,” said Brian McInnes, director of Eni-gikendaasoyang—the Center for Indigenous Knowledge and Language Revitalization at the University of Minnesota Duluth, one of the symposium hosts.  “The unique identities and worldviews of indigenous peoples are tied directly to their languages. Through sharing various program initiatives and methods in teaching and learning, participants leave more aware, inspired, and committed to the common goal of restoring the voices of indigenous communities.”

The second day’s keynote speaker will be Elona Street-Stewart. She is a member of the Delaware-Nanticoke Nation and the chair of the Saint Paul Public School Board of Education. In 2001, she became the first Native American to serve on an urban school board in the state of Minnesota.

The event will be held at the Black Bear Resort and Casino in Carlton, Minnesota on May 16 and 17. The symposium is open to the public, but advance registration is required