Carrie Dann, one of the most prolific advocates of indigenous peoples rights, is coming to Tucson to speak about current environmental threats to Western Shoshone land and her ongoing legal actions before international human rights courts.
Her discussion, slated for 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, will be broadcast live on the Web by a University of Arizona program.
“I will be talking about the land and the beliefs of the Western Shoshone people and how the two are connected,” says Dann. “America doesn’t know the history – the actual history of the indigenous peoples and their situation.”
Dann has for several decades worked on environmental issues and sought to protect the Western Shoshone Nation’s land in Idaho, California, Utah, Nevada and other states.
Her work, and previous efforts by her late sister, Mary, have resulted in international attention, numerous awards and several documentaries.
And while her lecture will focus on the experience of those in Idaho, Dann said her talk touches upon issues the world’s indigenous populations face.
“This is not just relevant to American Indian people in America,” says Dann, who is also an Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program Distinguished Visiting Indigenous Human Rights Advocate at the UA's James E. Rogers College of Law.
UA faculty have long been connected to Dann. Law professor S. James Anaya has represented Dann in cases before United States and international entities.
“She’s world famous and there are people all over the world who are familiar with her case,” says Robert A. Williams, who directs the Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program. “People can see her live or archived when she is at the height of her power. It has the potential to really connect a broad, international audience from the UA.”
And what is also unique about Dann’s talk is that the UA will be able to get her message to American Indian populations in ways that have been possible historically.
ArizonaNativeNet, a UA virtual outreach and educational center, will present a broadcast of Dann’s one-hour lecture, which is part of the UA Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program’s Distinguished Visiting Indigenous Human Rights Advocacy Series.
Without such technology, “students would hear her for one time (and) tell their grandchildren, ‘I heard Carrie Dann talk once,’” says Williams, also the E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and American Indian Studies at the law college.“Whereas now there is a permanent legacy. If you want to hear the speech, you can go to ArizonaNativeNet and it gives you that power to see it again,” he added.
That is critical to note, he said.
“So much of native knowledge has been lost, but this is one way to retrieve it,” Williams says of the Web site, which also has lectures, conferences and training courses that are aimed at American Indian populations but are free to all.
The site allows the UA to “better serve the educational needs of the community, state and world,” Williams says.
“There are some incredible things going on at the university, and we knew before that the potential wasn’t get out to the reservation community,” he added. “We can bring all the resources and knowledge of the UA, and our ability to gather those resources, to indigenous people through the power of the net.”
Williams also said the site is beneficial to tribal leaders and members, educators, students and community members who want to keep up with information important to the American Indian populations.
Now Dann’s lecture will be added to the site's “documentary record,” he added.
Her lecture coincides with the Western Mining Action Network’s conference, being held in Tucson. The conference starts Sept. 27 and runs four days and targets individuals who work on mining issues. Dann, along with a number of her colleagues, will speak during a workshop.
The conference and UA webcast are important, says Julie Fishel of the Western Shoshone Defense Project, who also does advocacy, planning and outreach work.
“A lot of our work is about connecting with other indigenous communities that are affected by mining,” Fishel said. “We’re trying to bring communities together across borders, across states and across nations.”
To watch it live, you'll need the Windows Media Player (http://www.windowsmediaplayer.com).An archived version will be available later at ArizonaNativeNet, http://www.arizonanativenet.comDann will be available for interviews after her presentation.
To learn more about the Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program, visit http://www.law.arizona/edu/depts/iplp.