Panel Discussion With Indigenous Leaders

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In partnership with the Museum of the American Indian (MAI) in Novato and the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in San Rafael, Dominican University of California’s Service-Learning Program is co-sponsoring a November 18 virtual panel discussion with local Indigenous leaders and advocates titled “Land Acknowledgment is Only the Start.”

This panel discussion, which is open to the public, brings together local Indigenous leaders who tirelessly advocate for appropriate recognition, representation, and conservation of Indigenous Peoples’ histories and cultures. The moderated discussion will feature perspectives on how land acknowledgments should be contextualized: through understanding sacred sites, the land back movement, land trusts and taxes, and food sovereignty. The event is from 6-7:30 p.m. on Zoom. Please register by November 17.

The panel will be moderated by David Escobar, a recognized member of the Lenca-Poton nation and a delegate with the American Indian Movement for the Indigenous Permanent Forum at the United Nations. Escobar has taught courses on American Indian history and culture at Dominican.

 Panelists include:

  • Kim Shuck, Tsalagi/Euro-American poet, author, weaver, and beadwork artist.
  • Theresa Harlan, Kewa Pueblo/Jemez Pueblo and adopted Coast Miwok. Art writer/curator and consultant. Founder of the Alliance for Felix Cove.
  • Dean Hoaglin, lineal descendant of the Tamal'ko Coast Miwok. Member of the Coast Miwok Tribal Council of Marin.
  • Sara Moncada ’16, MA ‘18, Yaki/Apachi-Euro-American educator, dancer, filmmaker, and cultural arts advocate and CEO of the Cultural Conservancy.

The panel was developed after the Church of Redeemer reached out to staff in Dominican’s Service-Learning program to explore a project for church and neighborhood community to learn more about the history behind the church’s parking lot being located on a Miwok shellmound, says Dr.  Emily Wu, Assistant Director of Community Outreach and Project Development in the Service-Learning Program.

“We connected with the Museum of the American Indian and invited them to join this partnership, to make sure that we are prioritizing the wisdom and insights of the local Indigenous community,” Wu says.

“This partnership has made it possible for us to bring the Indigenous guest speakers to Dominican, and also created opportunities for three Service-Learning students to support the Museum's programming this semester on their site. Additionally, several faculty are including conversations with Indigenous leaders and research about Indigenous perspectives and land acknowledgement into their classes.”

Those courses include Dr. George Faithful's “Meditation and Mindful Action” class, Dr. Cynthia Taylor's “California” class, and Dr. Wu’s classes in “Cultural Anthropology” and “Theory & Practice in Community Action & Social Change.”

Since 2019, Wu and Faithful have co-directed a grant from Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion. The grant project focuses on transforming Dominican’s Religion major into the new Social Justice major. To date, the grant has supported several faculty development workshops and two Social Justice-related projects. The first project was the Cultural Humility and Anti-Racism Education modules and website, developed by Dr. Wu and alumna Stephany Vallejo, who received her single subject credential from Dominican’s Department of Education in 2020. The ongoing collaboration with MAI and the Church of Redeemer is also partially funded by this grant.

The Dominican Service-Learning program, MAI, and the Church of Redeemer leaderships are exploring ways to expand the partnership beyond this guest speaker series. “We plan to continue the model of faculty being in dialogue and working with MAI and Church of Redeemer to center and uplift Indigenous perspectives and knowledge in their courses,” Wu says.

Victoria Canby MA ‘16, Executive Director of MAI, adds: “I’m hoping this partnership will increase Indigenous visibility in Marin County and diversify educational opportunities at Dominican.”

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