Native American and Indigenous People Programming

Four Medicines

Understanding public health in any community requires an interdisciplinary approach that examines history, economics, culture, politics, etc. Stemming from its interest in global health, and its administration of the Global Health Studies program, IPD is offering a course on Native American Health in Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, and Spring 2017. IPD is also organizing a number of activities designed to provide opportunities for students to learn about contemporary Native American culture and society. As part of this effort, IPD is collaborating with units and departments throughout the university to coordinate a multidisciplinary lecture series that will bring scholars and practitioners of interest to campus. The lecture series will run from March 2015 - January 2017. Questions or suggestions for lectures can be directed to IPD Associate Director Kim Rapp.

Upcoming Events

Past Events

April 1, 2016: The Symposium - Creating Nations: Past, Present and Future - hosted a series of interdisciplinary discussions focusing on image, sound, text, and body in relation to historical trauma, sovereignty, and nation building. Simon Ortiz gave the keynote on "History and Home: Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community."Contemporary Native American art making is as an act of conversation with the past, construction of the present, and envisioning of the future.

March 31, 2016: Robert Hanson, MD and Clinical Investigator at the NIDDK Phoenix, AZ spoke at the weekly Endocrinology Grand Rounds Seminar on “Genetic Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes in American Indians”. The talk was hosted by Feinberg's Geoffrey Hayes, PhD.

March 31, 2016: At the Indians in Chicago: Stories of Native American Activism event, authors and University of Montana Professors Rosalyn R. LaPier and David R. M. Beck talked about their book City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934. In City Indian, LaPier and Beck told the engaging story of American Indian men and women who migrated to Chicago from across America. From the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to the 1934 Century of Progress Fair, American Indians in Chicago voiced their opinions about political, social, educational, and racial issues.

March 1, 2016: At her talk Diabetes in Native Chicago, Margaret Pollak, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Global Health Studies and Anthropology, discussed her work on the diabetes epidemic in Chicago's inter-tribal Native community, including the rise of diabetes rates in the community, contemporary experiences with the disease, and how this epidemic plays a role in shaping some aspects of modern urban Native culture and community.

February 10, 2016: Kelly Wisecup, Assistant Professor in the Northwestern University Department of English gave a talk titled Epidemics and Native American Literature: Rethinking Narratives of Disease and Disappearance about the various strategies New England Native people employed for interpreting and responding to the epidemics and the colonists who followed, despite colonial and scholarly narratives of disappearance.

September 13, 2015: Tall Paul, the 6-foot-3 Ojibwe rapper, performed on Sunday, September 13 in the McCormick Auditorium at the Norris Center. Paul got into hip-hop in his early teens. The 26-year-old is from the Twin Cities, one of the biggest urban Indian communities in the United States. He channels his indigenous background into his music. Within the rap scene, his style is known as native hip-hop.

March 6, 2015: Northwestern Native American and Indigenous People Lecture Series and is organized by the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance (NAISA), Medill, and IPD invited Mark Trahant to speak to the Northwestern community about: The Representation of Native Americans in Today's Media. Trahant, a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock tribe, is the Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska. He has been chairman of the board of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, president of the Native American Journalist Association, a daily newspaper editor, publisher, and columnist, and a TV correspondent. He was a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting as co-author of a series on federal-Indian policy. He has written a history of American Indian contributions to journalism and The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars, about the legacy of Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Forrest J. Gerard and the campaign for Indian self-determination.

January 29, 2015: Bethany Weinert (Weinberg ‘06, Feinberg ‘10), a Primary Care Clinical Research Fellow and MPH candidate at UW-Madison came to Northwestern to speak on: Challenges and Importance of Native American Health Research, emphasizing the serious effects of infectious disease and childhood obesity on the population. Dr. Weinert’s interest in Native American health began as an undergraduate at Northwestern University where she wrote her honors thesis in anthropology on the current status of the Indian Health Service (IHS). She also received her MD from Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, where she created an away elective rotation at Red Cliff Community Health Center, an IHS clinic in northern Wisconsin. Weinert completed her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in 2013, and continues to collaborate with the Red Cliff Indian community. IPD organized this event, which was the impetus for the development of a full Native American Lecture Series.

IPD in the News:

Source: Northwestern News

The Office of International Program Development, which administers the Global Health Studies minor, is raising awareness of Native American public health issues through lectures and new course offerings. 

“Because of our interest in global health, we became interested in developing a course on Native American health and wanted to bring speakers to campus on that topic,” said Dévora Grynspan, assistant to the president for Global Initiatives and director of International Program Development.

“In addition to hosting Northwestern alumna and pediatrician Bethany Weinert for a lecture in January, we also hired Margaret Pollak, a recent Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, to teach a course on Native American health during spring quarter,” she added.

Following the spring quarter, Pollak will be joining the University for a two-year appointment beginning in September 2015.

“Understanding public health in any community requires an interdisciplinary approach that examines history, economics, culture, politics and more,” Grynspan noted. “Therefore, we are coordinating with other units on campus to develop a lecture series about Native Americans, with funding from the president and the provost.”