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State of Sequoyah Conference To Address Native American Issues

The State of Sequoyah Conference will touch on a number of Native American issues including tribal economic development and Native American history.
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The State of Sequoyah Conference—scheduled for September 1 and 2—will address a number of Native American issues including economic development, history, contemporary studies, as well as warriors and war.

Speakers for September 1 include Cherokee Nation Tribal Councillors Julia Coates and Cara Cowan Watts; Wyman Kirk, who is with Northeastern State University's (NSU) Language Program; Courtney Lewis, a Cherokee graduate student studying anthropology; Julie Reed, of the University of North Carolina; and Sonia Genslar, author of The Revenant, which is a young adult novel set in the 1890s at the Cherokee Female Seminary.

Discussions on September 2 will revolve around Native American warriors and war. The keynote address will be given by Jim Northrup, a Vietnam veteran and poet, and a documentary titled Way of the Warrior by Patti Loew from the University of Wisconsin. Other presenters include Tom Holm, professor emeritus at the University of Arizona; Stephanie Bidwell, director of tribal government relations for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Rogan Noble, of Cherokee Nation's Veterans Affairs Office; Russell Waid, NSU veterans counselor; Phyllis Spears, a nurse from the Southern Arizona VA health care system; and Matthew Tiger, of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Veterans Office and Tulsa Vet Center.

In the afternoon, tribal sovereignty and governance will be discussed by Terry Scott Ketchum, from the University of Oklahoma; Steve Russell, professor emeritus from Indiana University and author of Sequoyah Rising: Problems in Post-Colonial Tribal Governance; and Matthew L.M. Fletcher, Michigan State University College of Law associate professor.

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The conference, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the W. Roger Webb Educational Technology Center on the NSU campus in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. For more information or to reserve a seat call 918-453-5466 or 918-453-5423 or e-mail or

The conference leads into the 59th Cherokee National Holiday, held every year over Labor Day weekend since 1953. The holiday commemorates the signing of the 1839 Cherokee Nation Constitution.