CORVALLIS - Oregon State University will host its second annual "Sacred Landscapes" conference in Corvallis May 18-19, hoping to draw several hundred Native Americans from Pacific Northwest tribes to campus to talk about the environment.

The conference theme this year is "Walking Softly on the Earth," and the roster of Native American speakers will address several topics relating to the environment from their unique points of view.

"One idea is to look at the kind of relationship we should have with the Earth to leave the least amount of human impact," said Kurt Peters, a faculty member in OSU's Department of Ethnic Studies and organizer of the event. "Another idea is that we should have no propriety or stewardship over the environment; we have a place on Earth the same as many other living things."

The keynote speaker at the conference will be Winona LaDuke, a well-known activist for Native American rights and women's rights, who lives on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. LaDuke, who once served as the vice presidential running mate for Ralph Nader, will speak on "All Our Relations" and read from her book of the same title.

LaDuke's talk will begin at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, in LaSells Stewart Center. Her readings, and a reception, will follow later in the evening.

Last year, nearly 500 people attended the inaugural Sacred Landscapes conference at OSU. Peters said he hopes to build the event "a little each year, yet maintain its emotional impact."

"People came away from the conference last year with very deep feelings - feelings that are hard to quantify, or put into words," he said. "We don't want to run the risk of losing that intimacy by becoming too big too quick, or making the experience too impersonal."

Peters said the conference is designed to present Native American perspectives on the environment and our relationship with it - a viewpoint often overlooked at scientific, social and political gatherings.

The conference is free and open to the public. More information is available on the Web or by calling the Department of Ethnic Studies at OSU at 541-737-0709.

The agenda for the conference (and tribal affiliations) follows:


SACRED LANDSCAPES: Walking Softly on the Earth

Thursday, May 18:

6 p.m. Opening Song - Steiger Butte Singers and Honor Guard With Indian Flag; Opening Prayer
6:15 p.m. Welcome to Campus - Native American student representative
6:30 p.m. Flute - Michael Gutherless (Turtle Mountain)
6:45 p.m. Keynote Address - Winona LaDuke (Turtle Mountain)
7:45 p.m. Honoring of Community Members
8:15 p.m. Winona LaDuke - Readings from "All Our Relations"
8:30 p.m. LaDuke reception and book signing - LaSells Stewart Center lobby

Friday, May 19:

8:30 a.m. Opening Song - Steiger Butte Singers and Honor Guard With Indian Flag ; Opening Prayer - Bob Tom, MC (Siletz)
8:45 a.m. Welcome to Campus - Native American student representative
9 a.m. Keynote Remarks - Winona LaDuke (Turtle Mountain)
9:30 a.m. Storytelling - Ed Edmo (Shoshone/Bannock)
10:15 a.m. Flute - Michael Gutherless (Turtle Mountain)
10:30 a.m. Jeffrey Thomas (Puyallup)
11:00 a.m. Gordon Bettles (Klamath)
11:30 a.m. Minerva Soucie (Burns Paiute)
Noon Lunch Break (LaSells lobby and maps of area services)
1 p.m. Call to Conference - Steiger Butte Singers, Bob Tom, MC (Siletz)
1:15 p.m. Storytelling - Esther Stutzman (Kalapuya)
2 p.m. Ted Strong (Yakama)
2:30 p.m. Dennis Martinez (O'Odham/Crow/Chicano)
3 p.m. Klamath Falls Native American Youth Group dancers
3:30 p.m. Pat Courtney Gold (Wasco-Wishram/Warm Springs)
4 p.m. Conference Perspectives - Donald B. Ivy (Coquille)
4:30 p.m. Question and Answer (Audience Participation)
4:45 p.m. Retiring of Flag - Steiger Butte Singers and Honor Guard

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Kurt Peters, 541-737-5668