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15th Biennial Native American Symposium: “States of Sovereignty”

The fifteenth Native American Symposium will be a hybrid event, conducted both virtually and on campus at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.  While we welcome a return to the in-person symposium experience, we believe retaining virtual participation capabilities will allow greater access to our speakers and participants.  Registration for this event is FREE.  Our virtual host platform is Whova.

Southeastern Oklahoma State University invites tribal members, students, scholars, and educators to attend our Fifteenth Native American Symposium.  In recognition of the recent past, the event theme is “States of Sovereignty.”  We ask speakers and attendees to help put the unique circumstances of the post-McGirt world in context and conversations about the contested meaning of sovereignty.  As the work of scholars like Philip Deloria (Standing Rock Sioux) and Jean O’Brien (White Earth Band of Ojibwe) has repeatedly observed, Native presence has always been viewed through a settler-colonial prism relegating Native governance to a pre-modern world.  These assumptions continue to inform assessments of Native sovereignty, as evidenced by the 2022 Oklahoma v. Castro-Huerta decision.

Our program also is interested in allowing participants a forum to consider the various “states” of Native sovereignty across North America.  How is sovereignty expressed politically, economically, culturally, educationally, and socially in a dynamic environment?  What steps must be taken by federal and state governments – working together with tribes – to affirm Native sovereignty?  We invite all to share how they believe the past and present will shape future sovereignty. 

The program focuses on proposals that reconsider Native business, leadership, education, career development, and inspiration.  Roundtables connecting the theme of “States of Sovereignty” to other topics such as Native American history, cultural identity, literature, art, philosophy, and film. 

The Southeastern Oklahoma State University Symposium is pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will be Poteet Victory (Cherokee-Choctaw), artist and owner of Victory Contemporary Gallery and Studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The goal of the Native American Symposium is to further the dialogue between three main participant groups: members of Indian Nations, members of the public community, and members of the academic community.  As a cultural bridge between these communities, the symposium aims to provide an intensive study of Native American cultures and to raise more interest in and awareness of ethnic identities in Oklahoma.