Graduate School News

Graduate students bring tribal leaders to campus

February 24, 2014

Four American Indian tribal leaders will share their perspectives on “Transformative Leadership: Sovereignty in Action” at a March 6 event.

The public is invited to attend the 2014 UNC Native Leadership Symposium, to be held at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center on the UNC campus.

Frank Ettawageshik, executive director of the United Tribes of Michigan, will give the keynote address at 11 a.m. After a short break, a panel discussion will be held from 1:20 p.m. to 3 p.m. with Ettawageshik and other Native leaders. Both events will be held within the alumni center's Alumni Hall I.

First Nations Graduate Circle (FNGC), an organization of American Indian graduate and professional students at UNC, is coordinating the symposium. The Graduate School is the event co-sponsor. FNGC co-president Marvin Richardson is a doctoral student in history, and co-president Stanley Thayne is a doctoral student in religious studies.

Richardson and Thayne described the symposium as a great opportunity to see firsthand how modern Indian Nations work. The symposium will foster dialogue about current challenges and goals for Native communities and will give tribal leaders the opportunity to discuss issues and develop relationships with other local leaders, they added.

Ettawageshik, the keynote speaker, has served as chair of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians for 13 years. He grew up in Harbor Springs, on Little Traverse Bay (northern Lower Michigan), in the Odawa homeland of Waganakising (the Crooked Tree).

The panel discussion will focus on each leader discussing his or her perspective on issues currently facing Indian Country. Those attending will have the opportunity to ask questions after the discussion.

Richardson, a citizen of the Haliwa-Saponi Nation, will serve as the panel discussion moderator.

The panelists will be:

“This symposium offers a unique opportunity for everyone on campus to learn more about Indian Nations,” said Sandra Hoeflich, associate dean for interdisciplinary education, fellowships and communication at The Graduate School. “Our graduate students are initiating important conversations among UNC students, faculty, staff and community friends that will benefit us all.”

For more information on the event, email Stanley Thayne at