Breaking down barriers

Treuer to discuss book for Native American Heritage Month

By Sarah Hillenbrand | 11/3/14 12:38am

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GVL / Courtesy - Anton Truer


Throughout the month of November, many events are being hosted to make students aware of Native American Heritage Month. On Nov. 5, the Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting “An Evening with Anton Treuer” as part of the Professionals of Color Lecture Series.

Treuer is the executive director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University, editor of the Oshkaabewis Native Journal – the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language – and has written 13 books. He earned his bachelor's degree from Princeton University and completed his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

At the event, Treuer will speak about his book “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask,” addressing questions from the audience as well as discussing his background, experiences and lessons learned. Kristie Scanlon, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said Treuer will also conduct a book signing and meet and greet following the presentation.

“Dr. Treuer has a lot of first-hand knowledge and experiences, as well as an impressive educational background, and is viewed as a leading scholar of Native American language and culture,” Scanlon said. “Dr. Treuer will be able to share this knowledge with those in attendance in an interesting and interactive way that is sure to leave a lasting impression.”

Belinda Bardwell, a GVSU student who graduated last semester and is now working to get into the public administration master’s program, said she met Treuer at a language conference and became friends.

Throughout the month of November, many events are being hosted to make students aware of Native American Heritage Month. On Nov. 5, the Office of Multicultural Affairs is hosting “An Evening with Anton Treuer” as part of the Professionals of Color Lecture Series.

“He’s highly respected in the language community in trying to revitalize the language,” she said. “He’s an advocate for youth in his area. When I met him, in the years following, he would bring a group of youth from where’s he’s taught to the language conference.”

Bardwell said the event will give students a chance to ask questions and break down barriers.

“He’ll be opening himself up to questions to break down that gap of information,” she said.

Bardwell added that Treuer’s background gives him a lot of knowledge to answer a wide range of questions that may be asked.

“I think it goes back to starting conversations between a minority population to the dominant society…The amount of knowledge he has and his past experiences give him a great perspective.”

Students should take advantage of this event to ask questions they might be afraid to otherwise, Bardwell said.

“He’s a great resource to ask questions to,” she said. “He covers topics that I think people wonder about but don’t want to be taken as racist or ignorant. But I think just asking the question breaks down those barriers and starts those conversations.”

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