CSUSB to launch Native American speaker series featuring Charlene Teters, Native American artist, educator

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Charlene Teters, Native American activist and artist as well as educator and lecturer, will be the featured speaker on April 18-19 at the inaugural Cal State San Bernardino Native American Speaker Series, created to highlight the accomplishments of Native Americans.

Teters, a noted lecturer, speaking on arts, human rights and cultural issues in Indian country, will present “Whats in Your Heart” on:

· Thursday, April 18, at the Cal State San Bernardino San Manuel Student Union Theatre, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407 and

· Friday, April 19, at the Cal State San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus Indian Wells Theater, 37500 Cook St., Palm Desert.

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At both events, a reception will be held at 5 p.m., followed by the lecture at 6 p.m. Both events are free, but space is limited. Please RSVP by April 12 to the CSUSB Office of Tribal Relations at (909) 537-5625 or email tribalrelations@csusb.edu.

“We have created the Native American Speaker Series to illuminate the outstanding achievements of distinguished Native Americans in the arts, media, culture and academia,” said CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales. “By highlighting the amazing work and accomplishments of Native people, we seek to inspire our Native American students and all students to make their hopes and aspirations a reality.”

The series will feature speakers from diverse tribal backgrounds who share a common commitment to advocating for Native people, creating opportunities for tribal communities, advancing social justice, and supporting the rights of Indigenous people, said Vincent Whipple, director of the university’s Office of Tribal Relations, which will implement the program.

“The series will be a regular part of yearlong programming for the CSUSB community that brings focus to issues in Indian country at local and national fronts,” Whipple said. “The series will primarily target the CSUSB campus, but will also be inclusive of local Native Americans, tribes, and Native organizations.”

Teters, who is academic dean at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), has also held positions at the Ohio State University and as the Hugh O. LaBounty Endowed Chair at the California Polytechnic State University in Pomona.

“Today, I am an active artist and exhibit internationally,” Teters said. “By creating multimedia installations that examine the social presumptions and portrayals of Indian people in pop culture and media, my artwork expresses my personal and political views about America’s dehumanization of Indian Peoples.”

Teters established the Racial Justice Office at the National Congress of American Indians and is a founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media (NCRSM).

“Often, people think about Native Americans as we were envisioned at the turn of the century. If we’re not walking around in buckskin and fringe, mimicking the stereotype in dress and art form, we’re not seen as real,” Teters said. “Native Americans are here, and we are contemporary people, yet we are very much informed and connected to our history.”

Teters has held solo exhibitions of her work since 1992. She was the first artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her awards include the Allen House Memorial Award / New Mexico Governor’s Award, Person of the Week in 1997 for ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and the Chalmers Memorial Award from the American Civil Liberties Union. An award-winning documentary by Jay Rosenstein, “In Whose Honor?” provides a history of her work.

A member of the Spokane Tribe, she has an Associate of Fine Arts from IAIA, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Santa Fe, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Mitchell College, New London, Connecticut. Additional information about Teters can be found on her website at charleneteters.com.

The Native American Speaker Series is another example of CSUSB’s commitment to work with Native American people that also includes the creation of the First Peoples Center in 2017, dedicated to supporting the academic achievement and personal success of indigenous students, serving as the hosting site of the San Manuel Pow Wow and the California Native American Day in September.

In September 2018, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians awarded an unprecedented three-year, $960,000 gift to CSUSB to increase the college-going rates and success of Native American students.

The grant’s goal is to increase Native American student enrollment by 50 percent. The grant will also sponsor two enrollment and outreach coordinators focused on building a pipeline from all high schools statewide to CSUSB, other California State University campuses or a University of California campus.

For more information on the Native American Speaker Series visit https://inside.csusb.edu/node/21686

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