Kessler-Keener "Extraordinary Witness" Lecture Series

Bridging New Pathways: 

A Native non-Native Cross-Cultural Dialogue for Understanding:  A True Success.

Here's what Ed Keener had to say about the Nov. 13th Event:

Cross-Cultural Dialogue well received

The Nov. 13 Native and non-Native Dialogue attracted folks from across the state to attend the day-long forum for understanding. About 200 people attended the event created by a large team of volunteers forming the Kessler-Keener Lectures committee.  For a full photo album of the event, please click here

The event culminated months of planning and over two years of visits and contacts with Native and non-Native people in north and southwest Idaho. The quality of speakers and presenters, artists and actors couldn't have been better.  The participation by so many culturally different people is seldom seen in our state.  The yearning for this kind of cultural dialogue meets a deep need for understanding, healing and reconciling action.

A full house began the day with lunch of buffalo stew, fry bread and salad prepared by the Red River Pow wow Association women.  Key note speakers Dr. Robbie Paul and Phill Allen shared their work and passion of historical trauma and past and current realities of Indian peoples in Idaho.   Afternoon workshops featured Dr. Paul and Mr. Allen as well as Mr. Tom Kellogg leading interactive

work in writing one act plays.  Art and artisan work were displayed throughout the day featuring youth photography work from Lapwai and coordinated by Anne Rearick. Oil landscapes were displayed of Nez Perce Trail sites by Fonny Davidson as well as Marcine Quenzer’s Peacemaker series and other Native portraits, and Master Flintnapper and Authentic Native regalia craftsman Ron Saunders work displayed throughout. Following an artists and performers reception the evening featured seven one act plays written by student playwrights from the Coeur 'd Lane and Nez Perce Tribes.   Plays were read by local and out of state, Native and non-Native actors.  The audience sat in amazement and appreciation for the incredible work of the youth writers.

Kessler-Keener Lectures will continue on this track of supporting and featuring Idaho Native peoples.  And our work continues to build relationships and understanding in other parts of the state as well.

Please join the Kessler-Keener "Extraordinary Witness" Lecture Series for a compelling afternoon and evening of dialogue, workshops, dramatic performance, and more, to support cross-cultural dialogue for understanding. Event highlights include keynote presentations by Nez Perce (Ni mii puu) scholars Dr. Robbie Paul and Phill Allen and a performance of the mentor Artists Playwrights Project featuring seven one-act plays written by Coeur d'Alene and Nez Perce youth and performed by Native and non-Native actors.

LISTEN IN: to BSU Radio's Adam Cotterell
as Nez Perce Scholar Dr. Robbie Paul (pic at left) poses the question: do you know your neighbors? Excellent interview that also features MAPP's Tom Kellogg. Listen here

Tele-Council Recording from Nov. 9th
with Ed Keener, Tom Kellogg, and Phill Allen.

Youth Encouraged to attend!  $25 All event pass includes Native American contemporary and traditional Luncheon.  Buy Online or Call in your RSVP
Connect with Kessler-Keener and Bridging New Pathways on Facebook 

YouTube Video

Event Schedule

Noon-9PM:     Art Exhibition concurrent with all events
Featuring the landscape paintings of Fonny Davidson, Photography from Youth of Lapwai, and traditional cultural arts of Ron Saunders.

Noon-1:30pm:     Keynote Address and Lunch

Dr. Robbie Paul, Washington State University, Historical Trauma in Native Peoples
Phill Allen, Northwest Indian College, Lapwai, ID. Native Realities Past and Present

2:00-5:00pm:     Concurrent Sessions ($5 per workshop or buy an All Event Pass)
Phill Allen, "Race Matters"
Dr. Robbie Paul, "Cultural Competency: Finding Your Own Story"
Tom Kellogg, "MAPP: Mentor Artist's Playwright Project": A glimpse into the program and interactive.
  • from 2-3:30PM  Choose one of the above
  • from 3:30-5PM Choose one of the above

5:00-6:30PM:     Reception for speakers, artists and the public

Light food served

7:00-9:00PM:     Dramatic Performance and Discussion: Young Native Playwrights Initiative
A program of the Mentor Artist's Playwright Project under the direction of Thomas Dean Kellogg, Founder and Artistic Director. Mentor Artists Playwright Project Website

Thanks also to the following organizations for their support:

Art of Living
Boise Community Radio (
Clearstory Studios
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Boise

Idaho Humanities Council
Idaho Commission on the Arts
Idaho Human Rights Education Center
Dunia Marketplace
Mali Rowan Presents

Project Filter
Idaho Peace Coalition
Spirit Dreams
Treasure Valley Community Television


What is the ‘Extraordinary Witness’
Lecture Series?

Created in 1998, the Kessler-Keener 'Extraordinary Witness’ Lecture Series has allowed thousands of Idahoans to be inspired by people known for their peace, justice, and human rights work --- work they are called to do by their faith or spiritual tradition. Past events have attracted audiences as large as 1,800 people and have featured speakers such as Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize
Winner Elie Wiesel, United Farm Workers Union Co-founder Delores Huerta, Southern Poverty Law Center Director Morris Dees, and many others. In addition to these events, we annually recognize an Idahoan as an ‘Extraordinary Witness’.

Who were Harry Kessler and Margaret Keener? Harry Kessler (1877-1958) was an Idaho attorney known for his legal counsel to those in need. He was an instrumental figure for prohibition. Through his strong witness to his faith, Harry Kessler never compromised on any issue where he felt right and truth was involved. Inspired by her father Harry, Margaret Keener (1907-1993) was a voice for social conscience for decades. She passionately supported women, education, the environment, and human rights. Her career as a high school English teacher was balanced with active involvement in many social justice organizations. She was also the second woman Elder at Boise’s First Presbyterian Church.

The Lecture Series was created by loving family members in honor of Harry and Margaret’s legacy.