What did CCK mean for me?
I was so lucky to attend this past Convening Culture Keepers. I was able to experience
things I never believed I would never have been able to do so otherwise and my definitions of outreach and advocacy were challenged. From taking part in a traditional Oneida social dance to developing practical tribal library advocacy strategies while bonding with my fellow TLAM-ers, this was the best experience I have had all semester! I cannot speak highly enough of it!
I must confess I did not know what to expect at CCK! Between cataloging books at the American Indians Studies Program Library, I happened to glance over at my e-mail. As my eyes scanned Robin’s latest message, my heart began to race! I was so excited to be invited to attend Convening Culture Keepers—this conference which TLAM-ers spoke about, their descriptions always followed by a contented sigh. It was Tuesday and the conference was on Thursday!
As I prepared for my trek to Green Bay on Wednesday night, it suddenly hit me: what was this conference going to be like? Would Convening Culture Keepers feature the boring reading of a paper in a windowless room followed by the occasional question from an audience member while other audience members rolled their barely glazed over eyes to follow this new line of dialogue?
This could not have been further from the truth! At Convening Culture Keepers, TLAM students assisted with the set up and running of the conference, interacted with our presenters, and exchanged development strategies! We also took part in social dances, ate traditional Longhouse cuisine and participated in and led workshops on exhibit design!
At Convening Culture Keepers, I was able to learn about the outreach projects being taken on by the Oneida Nation Museum, the Oneida Public Library and the Oneida Cultural Center. At each one of these institutions, I learned more and more about Oneida history, language, and culture. After a fantastically fun three hour car ride up to Green Bay, conference attendees rendezvoused at the Oneida Parish Hall to set up for the conference!
After a flurry of activity, conference attendees filed in and I looked down at our schedule! We were going to tour the Oneida Nation Museum, the Oneida Public Library, and the Oneida Cultural Heritage Center. I could not contain my excitement and I knew that I
smiled like I had swallowed a hanger! At each one of these institutions, I learned more about outreach and community participation in addition to learning about the history and culture of the Oneida people!
CCK offered me the opportunity to learn more about tribal libraries, archives, and museums! I was also able to challenge my own definitions of outreach and advocacy and was privileged to learn more about Oneida culture! BEST.THURSDAY.OF.MY.LIFE! [I know what you’re thinking—didn’t you meet Sherman Alexie this semester? That was on a Tuesday!]
Photos by Della Nohl and Peter Rudrud
For more information about our fifth Convening Culture Keepers, including the agenda and presenter materials, follow this link.