Four American Indian women who recently earned their Ph.Ds spoke to students March 2 at Bowdoin College in Maine, the purpose being to "bring a variety of perspectives to what it means to be a woman in the Academy," co-organizer Leslie Shaw told Bowdoin.com. She also said another goal of the meeting was to encourage Bowdoin's Native students to "understand the value of furthering their education and in so doing to bring Native issues more fully into college curriculum and research."
The Native American Women in Academia Symposium, sponsored by the Wabanaki-Bates-Bowdoin-Colby Collaborative, featured a panel discussion with two historians, an anthropologist and a health policy expert. (Bates, Bowdoin and Colby are three of the "Little Ivies" that also includes such prestigious colleges as Amherst, Middlebury and Tufts.)
Kelly Fayard, a Bowdoin assistant professor of anthropology and enrolled member of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, earned her undergraduate degree at Duke University before taking graduate courses at the University of Michigan, where she studied issues of recognition of Southeastern tribes and tribal membership and Native identity.
"Part of the reason for my entering anthropology was to be able to answer those who dismiss the Poarch Creek or whose reporting on the tribe was flawed," Fayard told Bowdoin.com.
Other presenters included health policy expert Gail Dana Sacco (Passamaquoddy), who teaches at the University of New England; historian Angela Parker (Mandan, Hidatsa, Cree), who specializes in Native American Studies at Dartmouth; and historian Kiara Vigil (Apache, Dakota), who teaches in the American Studies Program at Williams College.