Skip to main content

2018 Mari Sandoz Symposium, Date?


Strong Native American women were discussed at the 2018 Mari Sandoz Symposium. University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications instructor and author Joe Starita talked about Dr. Susan La Flesche, “A Warrior to Her People.” At the age of 24 she graduated as the valedictorian of her medical school class and became America’s first Native doctor – 31 years before women could vote and 35 years before Natives became citizens in their own country.

Chadron State College Visual Arts Professor Mary Donahue explained and showed examples of “Landscape Place and Identity,” her response to the high plains, the landscape she calls home. Samples of her work and that of her colleague Laura Bentz were on display in the adjacent gallery at the High Plains Center.

A presentation by the 2018 Sandoz Scholar award winner, the University of Nebraska Lincoln Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, focused on Mari’s signature style and the relationship between her fashion sense and the crafting of her public persona. Katie Francisco was one of the graduate students in Dr. Claire Nicholas’ class on Museums: Theory and Practice. With a video and slide presentation, she highlighted the museum exhibition displayed on the UNL East Campus.

Dr. Kimberli Lee of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, discussed Sandoz’ approach as Ally and Advocate for Native People. Sandoz, Lee said, used her writing skills and notoriety as an accomplished author as a platform to address civil rights and social justice on behalf of Native American people, specifically the Northern Cheyenne and Lakota.

A screening of the newly released film “Warrior Women” and a visit with filmmaker Dr. Elizabeth Castle and Madonna Thunder Hawk was an afternoon highlight as the women discussed the story of a Lakota mother and daughter and their activism from the takeover of Alcatraz and the second battle of Wounded Knee in 1973 through the more current standoff at Standing Rock in protest of a controversial oil pipeline project.