Conference to explore complex history of the Great Plains

· 3 min read

Conference to explore complex history of the Great Plains

Chimney Rock

The Center for Great Plains Studies will host a free, one-day conference on the topic of reconciliation in education as part of its yearlong focus on the issue.

“Reckoning and Reconciliation in Education” will take place Sept. 15 in the Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. in Lincoln. The keynote presentations, panels and workshops will explore how education can promote a greater understanding of the Great Plains’ complex history and build relationships based on respect and dignity. The conference will cover topics from the historical trauma of Indian boarding schools to current efforts to diversify teaching staffs and incorporate inclusive curricula.


The event is in-person, free and open to the public, but registration is required. Lunch and a closing reception will be provided. Keynote presentations will be given by Mirelsie Velázquez, associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of Oklahoma; and a panel from the Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition with Samuel B. Torres, Deidre Whiteman and Stephen R. Curley.

(From left) Samuel B. Torres, Deidre Whiteman and Stephen R. Curley

The conference is part of a yearlong series dedicated to exploring how residents of the Great Plains can best understand the conflict and abuse that has occurred in the region and move toward reconciliation.

“We decided to hold a special event dedicated to education, because it’s such a crucial part of reckoning with the injustices of the past and finding new ways to heal, repair and promote reconciliation,” said Margaret Jacobs, Charles Mach Professor of History and director of the Center for Great Plains Studies.

People on the Great Plains have suffered dispossession, exile, violence, discrimination, exclusion, exploitation, forcible assimilation and family separation. Typical accounts of the region often downplay or erase these events. The yearlong series will highlight the past while exploring the resiliency of people, cultures and communities moving forward. The events are designed for community members and organizers, local and regional leaders, students, student groups, the academic community and others curious about these issues.

The center’s 2022 Reckoning and Reconciliation on the Great Plains events are supported by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Office of the Chancellor, Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, Office of Research and Economic Development, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Law, College of Education and Human Sciences, Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, Institute of Ethnic Studies and Diversity Officers Collaborative. The events are also supported by the University of Nebraska system’s Office of the President, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Humanities Nebraska and Cooper Foundation.

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