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'Respecting Differences' addresses native peoples

April 2, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Native American peoples and cultures will be the focus of this year's annual "Respecting Differences" program.

The 2007 presentation, "Indigenous PC: Political Correctness or Plain Courtesy," will take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, April 16, and 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 17, in Kalamazoo's Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. Parking is available behind Chenery.

The free program is part of the "Respecting Differences" lecture series, a communitywide collaboration to heighten awareness of diversity issues in the workplace. The series is sponsored by WMU, Community Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, Kalamazoo College and Portage.

Making this year's presentation will be Suzan Shown Harjo, president and executive director of the Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization founded in 1984 for native peoples' traditional and cultural advocacy, arts promotion and research.

Harjo, a Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee Indian, has been instrumental in helping native peoples recover numerous sacred places as well as more than one million acres of land. She is one of seven native people who filed the 1992 landmark lawsuit, Harjo et al v. Pro Football Inc., regarding the name of Washington's football team.

A poet and an award-winning columnist for Indian Country Today, Harjo also curates museum exhibits across the country, including at the District of Columbia Arts Center, National Museum of American Indians and University of Pennsylvania Museum.

WMU faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend Harjo's presentation. A postcard-sized "ticket" for the program will be sent through campus mail the week of April 1. Although the program is free, faculty and staff should bring their tickets to the event.

For more information, contact WMU's Felicia Crawford at felicia.crawford@wmich.edu or (269) 387-3635.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

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