Higheagle Strong to speak on land-grant history, Native lands, and an equitable future

Closeup of Zoe Higheagle Strong.
Zoe Higheagle Strong

“Addressing WSU’s land-grant history and the appropriation of Native lands: Exploring a more equitable future” is the title of a virtual presentation from 3–4:30 p.m. on Nov. 6 by Zoe Higheagle Strong, vice provost for Native American Relations and Programs and tribal liaison to the president. To attend the event, audience members must register online.

Higheagle Strong will present an overview of the history of the Morrill Act and the Enabling Act that contributed to the establishment of land-grant institutions. She will explore why universities such as WSU have a unique responsibility to tribal communities and nations within their regions. She will also discuss WSU’s Memorandum of Understanding agreements with regional tribal nations and the significance of those partnerships. At this time, 14 Native tribes have signed the MOU with the university.

The lecture by Higheagle Strong, a Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) tribal member and associate professor in educational psychology, aligns with Native American Heritage Month events on the WSU Pullman campus.

Co-hosts of the lecture are the Common Reading Program, the Center for Native American Research and Collaboration, Native American Programs, and ASWSU Ku-Ah-mah. Students attending are eligible to receive common reading event credit.

The lecture is also tied to the use of “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” a collection of essays by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Topics from the book, the common reading text for the second year, are used in first-year and other courses across many disciplines.

Evening film showing

That same day, from 6–8 p.m. in the CUB Auditorium, there will be a screening of “Covenant of the Salmon People.” No registration is required to attend this free film showing. Common Reading attendance credit is available to students.

This documentary provides a portrait of the Nez Perce Tribe’s ancient agreement with salmon, and follows efforts to uphold this relationship as dams and climate impacts threaten the extinction of the species and cornerstone of culture. It explores the unique relationship between the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce), the fish, and the landscape from which both evolved, showing how the covenant with salmon is manifested in the tribe’s culture and history as well as in its current, multi-faceted work to advocate for salmon.

The screening will be followed by Q&A with guest Nez Perce tribal members featured in the film.

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