Sixth Annual Distinguished American Indian Speakers Series


"One Hundred and Fifty Years of Treaty Relations: Native Reflections on the Significance of the Treaties of 1855"


The American Indian Studies Program of the University of Idaho is proud to be co-sponsoring this year's Series with the Cultural Resources Office of the Nez Perce Tribe and the Plateau Center for American Indian Studies of Washington State University.  Additional funding was secured from a Diversity Initiatives Growth Grant through the Ad-hoc Presidential Campus Wide Diversity Programming Group of the University of Idaho


Events (last updated 26 October):

Significance of the Treaties of 1855: Contemporary Perspectives on Traditional Plant Resources - Monday Evening on the WSU Pullman Campus

Event theme: the place of traditional plant resources in Plateau culture and current issues relating to the Treaties of 1855.

Welcomes by Ron Pond, Director of the Plateau Center, and Provost Robert Bates.  Introductions by Chastity Watt (member of the Colville Tribe, a graduate student in Crop and Soil Science).  

A keynote presentation by Ron Halfmoon (Umatilla elder, a WSU alumni), followed by a panel discussion with Tonia Garcia (Nez Perce Tribe, Tribal Attorney), Alvina Heusties (Umatilla elder), Feather Sams Heusties (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, holds a masterís degree in Anthropology from WSU, is currently employed at the Tamastlikt Institute near Pendleton, Oregon), Emily Washines (Yakama Tribe), and Janie Pond (Umatilla elder, a life-long practitioner of traditional food gathering and cultural practices, serves a whip-woman for her community).

Time and Place: at 7:00 pm Monday October 24th in the Fine Arts Auditorium on the Washington State University campus.


Significance of the the Nez Perce Treaty of 1855: Nez Perce Perspectives - Tuesday Evening on the U of I Moscow Campus

Event theme: the place of traditional fisheries and Salmon resources in Plateau culture and other current issues relating to the Nez Perce Treaty of 1855.

Opening Prayer by Horace Axtell (Nez Perce elder) and Honor Song by the Nez Perce Nation Drum, led by Mike Penney.  Welcome from Provost Doug Baker.  Introductions from Buzz Cree, President of the Native American Student Association of the U of I.   

Keynote presentations by Sam Penney (Nez Perce elder, former Tribal Chairman and current member of NPTEC) and Allen Pinkham  (Nez Perce elder, former Tribal Chairman), former Tribal Chairman), followed by a panel discussion by Loretta Halfmoon (Nez Perce Tribe), Silas Whitman (Nez Perce Tribe), Julie Kane (Nez Perce Tribe, Tribal Attorney). 

Closing Prayer by Horace Axtell.

Time and Place: at 6:00 pm Tuesday October 25th in the Administration Auditorium on the University of Idaho campus.

* Image from Event: Sam, Julie, Silas, Loretta and Allen giving their talks


The Treaty Trail: An Exhibit Chronicling the History of the Treaties of 1855 with the Nez Perce, Yakama, Umatilla, and other Area Tribes

Time and Place: October 17th to November 4th in the Reflections Gallery of  the Commons on the University of Idaho campus.  Special Opening Reception between 3:00 pm and 5:30 pm on Tuesday October 25th.  View copies of the original hand-written Nez Perce Treaty, along with background information on the Treaty process.

* Image from Event: At the Gallery Reception


Significance of the Treaties and On Being "Indian": A Youth Perspective

A panel discussion on the meaning and significance of the Treaties and other related issues by students from the fifth grade at Lapwai Elementary School (Kelly Hillman's and D'Lisa Pinkham's classes) and from University of Idaho students, James Holt (Nez Perce Tribe), Jonelle Whitman (Nez Perce Tribe), Amber Thomas (Alaskan Native), Trinidad Villalobos, and others.  Moderated by D'Lisa Penney-Pinkham (Nez Perce Tribe, Fifth Grade Teacher, Lapwai School).

Time and Place: at 1:00 pm Tuesday October 25th in the Gold and Silver Rooms of the Student Union Building on the University of Idaho campus.

* Images from Event: the Youth Presentation, D'Lisa, Panelists, Panelists, Rocket Man, and the Entire 5th Grade Class


Hal-hal-tlos-tsot "Lawyer" by Gustav Sohon, 1855.  Nez Perce Treaty signer.

Topics and Scope: Acknowledging the 150th anniversary of this important treaty signing, this yearís Speakers Series will consider the continuing significance and future implications of the so-called "Steven's Treaties of 1855", from Nez Perce, Umatilla and Yakama Tribal perspectives (named after territorial governor Isaac Stevens).  The Series will present the perspectives of elders, tribal council members, legal experts, the youth, and those directly impacted by the Treaties.

As in the instance of the Nez Perce, it is with the signing of this Treaty on June 11, 1855 that the government - to - government legal and political foundations of the Nez Perce Nation were established.  Virtually every decision relating to the Nez Perce Tribe, from water rights and access to "usual and accustomed areas," from law enforcement jurisdiction to Tribal Self Determination is grounded in the legal precedents agreed to in the Treaty of 1855.  To understand the legal and political dynamics of the Nez Perce Nation, you must begin by understanding the Treaty of 1855.

Apash-wa-hay-ikt "Looking Glass"
 by Gustav Sohon, 1855.
Nez Perce Treaty signer.

Given the general ignorance and misunderstanding by the non-Indian community of the importance of the event for the Nez Perce, as well as the need to reiterate its continuing significance for both Indian and non-Indian students, among the topics considered will be Natural Resources Stewardship of the fisheries and plants, along with Tribal Sovereignty, Usual and Accustomed Areas, Cultural Resources Protection, Education and Health Care, and Environmental Issues.  

Steering Committee: The Committee is made up of Vera Sonneck, Director of the Cultural Resources Office, Nez Perce Tribe, Josiah Pinkham, Tribal Ethnographer, Nez Perce Tribe, Nakia Williamson, Cultural Resources Office, Nez Perce Tribe, DíLisa Pinkham, 5th Grade teacher at Lapwai and Affiliate Faculty for the AIST Program, Ron Pond, Director of the Plateau Center, Washington State University, Mary Collins, Associate Director of the Museum of Anthropology, Washington State University, and Rodney Frey, American Indian Studies Program, University of Idaho.


Text of the Nez Perce Treaty of 1855

All sessions are free and open to the public 

For more information call: (208) 885-6268 or e-mail:

Also plan to attend these events:

Tutxinmepu Pow-Wow

October 28th (Grand Entry 7:00 pm) and 29th (Grand Entries 12 noon and 7:00 pm) of 2005 on the University of Idaho, Moscow Campus, in the ASUI Kibbie Dome

Head Man Dancer - Russell McCloud; Head Woman Dancer - Leanne SiJohn; Arena Director - Jonathan Long Soldier; M.C. - Mike Squeochs

Sponsored by the Native American Student Association 

For more pow-wow information, contact Yolanda Bisbee at:

 208-885-5174 or


Native Reflections: An Exhibit of Nez Perce Contemporary Artists

Third Street Gallery, Moscow City Hall

206 East Third Street

Featured Artists include Sarah Penney, Nakia Williamson, Gary Greene, Brooklyn Baptist and Kevin Peters

Opens October 28th, with a reception from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. Special weekend hours from 9:00 a.m. - Noon on Saturday the 29th. The exhibit will run through November 25th.

For more information, contact Deena Heath, Moscow Arts Commission, at 208-883-7036, or

The Annual Speaker's Series is sponsored by the

American Indian Studies Program

The American Indian Studies Program at the University of Idaho is pleased to sponsor the Distinguished American Indian Speaker's Series.  Begun in November of 2000 with the lecture by Rebecca Tsosie (Executive Director of the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University), followed in 2001 with Duane Champagne (Director of the American Indian Studies Center at UCLA), and in 2003 with Devon Mihesuah (Professor of Applied Indigenous Studies at Northern Arizona University), the series brings leading American Indian elders, scholars, artists, activists, and educators to campus for public lectures and workshops on topics of timely interest.

A Look Into the Past:

The 2000 - "Visions of Education for the 21st Century: Facing the Challenges of Cultural and Tribal Sovereignty"

The 2001 - "Renewing Tribal Governments through Reconsidering Tribal Constitutions"

 The 2002 - "The Art of the Powwow: Creating a Sense of Place through Camera and Brush"

The 2003 - "Indigenizing the Curriculum"

The 2004 - Series



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