STOLEN WATERS SUMMIT
University of Montana, Missoula, November 1st-3rd, 2023
From the flooding of Celilo Falls to the damming of Mni Sose (Lakota), Awaati (Hidatsa), or the Missouri River, Indigenous relationships to water have been under attack by colonial development projects for centuries. The Stolen Waters Summit will gather leading voices of Indigenous resistance and resurgence in the Missouri, Columbia, Colorado, and Rio Grande river basins. Talks, panels, and films will feature scholars, attorneys, activists, writers, and artists as well as graduate students from the Blackfeet Nation, Navajo Nation, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, and Pueblo Tribes. The conference will also hail a resurgence of traditional cooking, food, and farming techniques and celebrate the poetry and music flowering in the cracks of colonial infrastructures.
Wednesday, November 1
6-8 pm: Pipelines, Power, & Poems: An Evening with Tara Houska and Heather Cahoon, hosted by Montana Poet Laureate Chris La Tray. Opening prayer and song by Arleen Adams. (Payne Native American Center Rotunda)
Thursday, November 2
10am-12pm Restoration Field Trip to "Place of Bull Trout" (Naaycčstm) with Shirley Trahan and Lucy Vanderburg (meet at Dennison Theater for bus transportation from campus)
1-2 pm: Indigenous Students and Alumnus Lived Experiences from Standing Rock, Moderated by Lauren Small Rodriguez (PFNAC 011)
2:30-4 pm: Rosalyn LaPier lecture: "Kipitáaakii’s Garden" (ISB 110)
5-7 pm: Covenant of the Salmon People screening with Shannon Wheeler. (UC Theatre.) (register here)
7:30 - 9:30 pm: Nick Estes' Presidential Lecture: “Ancestors of the Future: Indigenous Resistance and the Climate Change.” (UC Ballroom) (zoom link here)
Friday, November 3
10-11:30 am: Panel discussion on dams on Indigenous waters with Angela Parker, Paige Johnson, and Xavier Lovato (Payne Family Native American Center 011)
2-3:30 pm: Panel on Indigenous food sovereignty with Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills, Sid Fellows, Nicole Benally, and Cherith Smith. (Payne Family Native American Center 105)
4-7 pm: Feast, Round Dance, and Drumming in the Payne Rotunda.
Traditional Foods Demonstration in PFNAC 201
8pm-12am: Closing Celebration with DJ Foreshadow, SABA, and Joseph Running Crane and Dylan Running Crane. Zootown Arts Community Center
Speakers and Events
Wednesday, November 1st
Tara Houska is a citizen of Couchiching First Nation, a tribal attorney, land defender, environmental and Indigenous rights defender. She is the founder of the Giniw Collective, an Indigenous women, two-spirit-led front line resistance to defend the sacred and live in balance. Tara Houska has been active in resisting the Line 3 oil pipeline, the Dakota Access pipeline, and is involved in the movement to reclaim Land Back and in defunding fossil fuels.
Heather Cahoon is the author of Horsefly Dress (University of Arizona Press, 2020) and the chapbook Elk Thirst, which won the Merriam-Frontier Prize in 2005. Cahoon earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Montana, where she was the Richard Hugo Scholar. She has received a Potlatch Fund Native Arts Grant and Montana Arts Council Artist Innovation Award. A member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes from the Flathead Reservation, Cahoon is an Associate Professor of Native American Studies at the University of Montana.
CHRIS LA TRAY
Thursday, November 2nd
THE SALMON PEOPLE
Covenant of the Salmon People is a 60 minute documentary portrait of the Nez Perce Tribe’s ancient agreement with salmon and follows their efforts to uphold this relationship as dams and climate impacts threaten the extinction of species and a cornerstone of culture. The film showing will be followed by Q&A with Nez Perce Chairman Shannon F. Wheeler.
Friday, November 3rd
ANGELA KAY PARKER
Angela Parker (Mandan, Hidatsa, Cree) is an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and also participates at her father’s reservation, Rocky Boy. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Denver focused on 20th century Native American and U.S. history. Her forthcoming book (Fall 2024) with the University of Oklahoma Press is titled Taken Lands: Territory, Sovereignty, and Citizenship on the Fort Berthold Reservation. The book documents the years before, during, and after the Fort Berthold community lost the central portion of their land base due to a massive dam built by the US Corps of Engineers. She is also working on a new project that tracks the long twentieth century history of oil extraction in Native communities.
Ruth Plenty Sweetgrass-She Kills (Hidatsa, Mandan, Dakota, and Nakota) is the Director of Food Sovereignty at the Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College and Co-Principal Investigator for the National Science Foundation-funded WILLOW program. She initiated the concept for the NSF-funded WILLOW project as she was finishing her doctorate program at the University of Montana. Since Fall 2020, she has been leading the project, which aims to increase the success of Native American faculty in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
SABA is an artist and live screen printer. Building forts out of sage brush, hauling water and attending boarding school in the mid 80’s, SABA is a descendant of both Dine’ & Walatowa people from the four corners of the world found in Northern New Mexico.
Like a lot of Indian/Native/Indigenous people living on and off of the reservation, SABA has endured a great amount of confusion as to why his traditional way of life and identity is getting harder and harder to find, unknowing of the historical trauma that lay underneath piles of priceless hand woven rugs. SABA receives the message of his and herstories through Arrowsoul fumes in current day petroglyphs. While working in various communities and building with tribal kin, Saba finds he is one of many indigenous refugees digging his way back to the roots through Hip Hop/Indigenous Expression. Bridging the gap from old to new, Hoping to relay the message to the younger generations that the first peoples are ALIVE and Continuing to rise out of this colonial coloring book. Remembering that we have always painted walls, banged beats, rocked the earth and shared stories with our families that stretch from Canada to South America.
The Stolen Waters Summit is sponsored by Humanities Montana, the UM President's Office, the UM Provost's Office, the UM College of Humanities and Sciences, Davidson Honors College, the UM Graduate School, the UM Environmental Studies Program, the UM Native American Studies Program, the Nez Perce Tribe, American Rivers, Clearwater Credit Union, All Nations Health Center, Zootown Arts Community Center, the UM English Department, Cinnabar Foundation, Clark Fork Coalition, Betty's Divine, Wild Montana, and the Clark Fork Yacht Club.