American Indian health issues, language preservation and improving archaeology practices in California will highlight the 23rd annual California Indian Conference on Friday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 4, at the UC Riverside Palm Desert Graduate Center.
The conference theme is "Good Medicine and Healthy Nations." Conference sessions will cover a variety of subjects from preserving the language, music and cultural traditions of California's Native Americans to access to medical care and programs that address major health issues of American Indians such as obesity and diabetes.
The event is sponsored by UCR's California Center for Native Nations, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs, UCR's Center for Ideas and Society and California State University, San Bernardino.
For 23 years California Indians, scholars and Native Americans from many parts of North America have met at the California Indian Conference to learn about the culture, language, history, literature and lives of California Indians, said Cliff Trafzer, professor of history and Costo Professor of American Indian Affairs at UC Riverside.
Multiple conference sessions on Oct. 4 - titled "Finding Common Ground" - will provide an opportunity to share concerns about archaeology practices in California with the Archaeological Resources Committee of the State Historic Preservation Office. Committee member Donn Grenda will be present to take comments.
"There are a lot of hard feelings in California about the way developers build with respect to protecting sites that are important to American Indians," Trafzer said. "These sessions will give American Indian people a chance to talk directly with the commission about their concerns, such as desecration of graves."
Also featured during the conference will be art shows by Billy Soza War Soldier, a Luiseño Indian from the Soboba Indian Reservation near San Jacinto; George Blake, a Hupa Indian from the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation; and James Luna, a Luiseño performance artist from the La Jolla Indian Reservation.
The Palm Desert Graduate Center is located at 75080 Frank Sinatra Drive, Palm Desert.
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