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Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness: Lecture and Discussion Series

This guide contains event information and resources related to the Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness exhibit.

Opening Ceremony and Prayer. Weds., Aug. 28 - 7-9 p.m. I.D. Weeks Library, 2nd floor

Our Opening Ceremony will feature Eugene D. Thin Elk, Sic’angu Lakota, speaking on his origination of the Red Road Approach, a culturally-based therapeutic recovery and wellness model. Mr. Thin Elk and Mr. Richard D. Thomas, Isanti Dakota, co-developed and presented on the Red Road over the past 38 years. The Red Road is being utilized globally in Canada, Africa, Scotland, England, Slovenia and several other countries. Mr. Thin Elk has utilized the Red Road Approach in his services, consultations, healing, and cultural training work with numerous Native Tribal Nations, business Corporations, Rancherias and Pueblos, and has advised and consulted with major universities, banks, hospitals including the United States Army Psychiatric Hospital in Texas, and corporations. Locally, Mr. Thin Elk has worked with Sanford Health’s Health Disparities Research Center and Avera Health Care Systems. He also has served the American Indian populations in the health care systems as an outside support for families needing traditional Lakota Spiritual care.  He has led twenty-seven Red Road Gatherings in Vermillion, South Dakota that provided a compassionate healing environment through culturally-based information and supportive activities for all participants. The gathering is designed for recovery, de-stressing and networking and as a time for healing and renewal while providing the opportunity for the multidisciplinary and diverse populations in attendance to gain insight on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Mr. Thin Elk, served as an adjunct instructor and as a Director of Native Student Services at the University of South Dakota before retiring after 36 years of service.

Light refreshments at 7 p.m.  Opening Ceremony with prayer at 7:30 p.m.

Story Telling. Weds., Sept. 11 - 7-9 p.m. Farber Hall

Story Telling and Health as Experienced by Native Americans led by Dr. Gary Cheeseman.

Dr. Gary Cheeseman (Maajiiange) will be telling a personal story about his own experiences with mental health issues as they exist in the Native American population. Gary was raised with the customary values of the Medewi’wen and the sun dance and has helped others integrate the traditional ceremonies and cosmologies of Native culture into the healing process of contemporary native life. For about nine years Gary operated one of only two American Indian therapeutic foster group homes in the state of Minnesota where he used traditional teachings and cosmologies to assist native youth in using spirituality to heal. Gary has spent the past 27 years in higher education educating people about American Indians and Indigenous belief. 


Film and Discussion: Weds., Sept. 4th - 7-9 p.m. Farber Hall

Health Care: Crisis at Rosebud. Film and panel discussion led by Damon Leader Charge. “This film explores the serious doctor shortage which existed on the Rosebud Reservation in 1973 and offers some ways of finding a solution.” Produced by the University of South Dakota for the South Dakota Committee for the Humanities, Vision Maker Video. Narrated by Jack Bruce; written by Craig T. Shoemaker, Joan McConville Gray, and Joseph H. Cash; directed by Sanford D. Gray; project director Herbert Hoover.

Historical Trauma Lecture and Discussion. Weds., Sept. 18 - 7-9 p.m., Farber Hall

Historical Trauma Lecture and Discussion led by Dr. Beth Boyd.

Children's Programming. Week of Sept. 9-13, Edith B. Siegrist Vermillion Public Library

Story Times and art projects based on Sherman Alexie’s THUNDER BOY.

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