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2017 commemorative events

Savage Anxieties: American Indian Treaty Rights, Constitutional Rights and Human Rights

Robert A. Williams, Jr.Robert Williams Jr. headshot from Bill Moyers
E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Faculty Co-Chair, Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program, The University of Arizona Rogers College of Law

The Native American voices are starting to be heard but more needs to be done to make their voices louder, said Robert A. Williams, the E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. Williams is also a faculty co-chairman of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the university. Williams, who was the Taft Research Center’s guest speaker for Native American Heritage month, discussed the unfair and unequal treatment Native Americans have received. Robert A. Williams1He pointed to how lawmakers continuously took a part the Native Americans’ land – piece by piece. While tribes signed treaties after treaties with American colonists in good faith, the “White Man” never kept his promise.

Instead, treaties would be renegotiated, and the land they owned would become even smaller. Many times, tribes were forced out of their homes. In aRobert A. Williams Standing Again  number of instances, Williams also added the Native Americans did not know what kind of document they were signing. Even today, the U.S. government marginalizes the Native American tribes, casting away their voices. The government is going ahead with the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline that will transport crude oil across four states, from North Dakota to Illinois. The construction of the pipeline also ruins the sacred burial sites of the Lakotas.

Hispanic Heritage Month Lecture
5 October, 7 PM
Taft Research Center

Juan Felipe Herrera image, in oblique sunlight, with colorful mural in background
Juan Felipe Herrera
A Bilingual Poetry Reading and Conversation

In 2015 Juan Felipe Herrera was appointed the 21st United States Poet Laureate, the first Mexican American to hold the position. Prior to serving two terms as the US Poet Laureate, he was California’s Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014, and was elected Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets (2011). He is the author of 30 books of poetry, novels for young adults, and collections for children, including “Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems" (2008), winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the International Latino Book Award.

Among his many other honors, Herrera has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN / Beyond Margins Award. Two Américas Awards; two Pura Belpré Author Honor Awards; the Independent Publisher Book Award; the Ezra Jack Keats Award; and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Stanford University Chicano Fellows. In 2016, he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement at the 36th L.A. Times Book Prizes.

Herrera has served as the Chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at California State University Fresno and held the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Creative Writing Department at the University of California, Riverside, where he taught until retiring in 2015.

For more information on Juan Felipe Herrera, please visit the following websites:

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