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Ethan Clapsaddle, Class of 2017

Why did you choose KU’s Indigenous Studies Program?
I chose KU because of the Museum Studies aspect of the program, as well as the diverse topics and people the INS program would allow me to learn more about. [Ed. note: Indigenous Studies was forEthan Clapsaddle and his master's exam committee (l to r): Dr. Michael Zogry, Dr. Peter Welsh, Ethan Clapsaddle, and Dr. Stephanie Fitzgerald.merly called Indigenous Nations Studies, and it included tracks.] My family also had connections to Haskell and Lawrence so we decided to move out to Kansas and make an adventure out of it. 

What was your main focus of research/academic interest?
My main focus was on tribal museums and how they can serve as the communal hub for tribal communities in the fight for cultural preservation and community development. I specifically looked at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, and how it utilizes tribal oral traditions, community guidance, diverse academic disciplines, and cultural principles to perpetuate the culture, history, and stories of the Kituwah people.

How are you using that research and the skills gained through the Indigenous Studies Program now?
I currently oversee the Youth Leadership Development Program for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. We have developed a culturally based leadership program where we aim to develop stronger tribal leaders who are grounded in their culture and have a stronger sense of tribal identity. I have also been heavily involved in program development and strategic planning for the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in a variety of roles.  

You took a few years off before coming back for your master’s. What led you to want to finish?
It took me some time to complete my graduate work. I took some time off after completing my course work and the thesis portion seemed to take a back seat to life. I joined the Army as a commissioned officer and moved around for close to five years. I deployed to Afghanistan, where I served with the 65th Combat Engineer Battalion. Completing my graduate work was always lingering and I decided after coming back home from deployment and returning to Cherokee that I wanted to finish up for me and my family.      

Let’s look ahead a bit. What are your goals for the future?
My goals for the future are to help develop the sense of cultural identity within the young people and our tribal community as a whole. I hope to do this through program development that focuses on multi-generational exposure to all aspects of the Kituwah culture that gives our participants a heightened sense of responsibility to our communities, traditions, and tribe. 

You’re from the same town as Micah Swimmer, another ISP student. How do you know each other? Have you helped push each other to finish your degrees?
Micah and I are both from Cherokee. He is an awesome guy who is doing amazing work on the language preservation front at the tribe's language immersion school, the New Kituwah Academy. Micah and I are "partners in crime" with coaching boys' basketball here in Cherokee. We both have 9-year-old boys that are key players on our team. We approach our team like family, where we focus on not just coaching basketball but building a sense of brotherhood and incorporating as much culture and language into our practices and games as we can. Along the way, Micah and I have become very close friends and we talk almost every day about any and everything. We both pushed each other to finish our thesis work and stayed after each other with encouragement and support.

We heard something about a road trip with you and Micah on your way to your master’s defenses. Is there a fun story in how you both got to Lawrence to defend your projects?
We made an awesome road trip out to Kansas for our thesis defenses. We loaded up our families and went down to Henryetta, Oklahoma, for an all-Native basketball tournament. Our boys finished third out of nine teams, and we were the youngest team in the division. We left the tournament and made our way to Kansas for our defenses. We had an awesome week with friends, family, basketball – and we both wrapped it up with a successful thesis defense. It was an unbelievable journey.       

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Indigenous Environmental Justice, Knowledge and Law

Deborah McGregor
Associate Professor
Osgoode Hall Law School and Environemental Studies, York University; Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Environmental Justice
Friday Feb. 2 4:00 PM Lindley Hall Room 317.Meet and greet at 3:30 pm in Lindley Hall, room 205. All are welcome to attend.

"Home and Away: Indigeneity and the Spaces of Critique" Lecture by Dr. Robert Warrior

Bold Aspirations Visitor and Distinguished Professor Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 24 | 5:30 p.m.
Big 12 Room, Kansas Union
Free and open to the public

Indian Youth of Lawrence Pageant
Saturday, January 27 | 6 p.m.-9 p.m.
South Middle School Auditorium
2734 Louisiana St., Lawrence, KS
Free and open to the public
Support the contestants as they demonstrate their traditional and contemporary talents, and enjoy refreshments. Titles include Miss Indian Youth of Lawrence (Grades 9-12), Jr. Miss Indian Youth of Lawrence (Grades 5-8), Indian Youth of Lawrence Brave (Grades 9-12) and Jr. Indian Youth of Lawrence Brave (Grades 5-8). To apply or for more information, contact Landri James at landri.james@usd497.org. Application deadline is Monday, January 15.

Haskell Spring Welcome Back Powwow
Saturday, February 3 | Grand entry at 6 p.m.
Haskell Indian Nations University
Coffin Sports Complex, Lawrence, KS 66046
Free and open to the public

Open Forum: Careers in the Foreign Service
Tuesday, February 6 | 6:30 p.m.
Pine Room, Kansas Union
Kristin Stewart, Diplomat in Residence, will share information about internships and the Consular Fellows Program. Diverse candidates from under-represented groups are particularly encouraged to apply! The U.S. Department of State offers career opportunities in foreign policy and diplomacy at over 265 Embassies and Consulates globally. The Consular Fellows program recruits Arabic, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish speakers. Foreign Service Careers are for all majors!

KU ISP Q&A with Elizabeth Glynn, CEO of Travois
Friday, February 16 | 10 a.m.
Conference Room, 6 Lippincott Hall
ISP students can learn more about Travois, a Kansas City-based consulting firm focused exclusively on promoting housing and economic development for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities.

KU Law's 22nd Annual Tribal Law & Government Conference: Tribal-State Collaborations: Advantages & Obstacles
Friday, March 9 | 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
KU School of Law, 1535 W. 15th Street, Lawrence, KS
Free and open to the public, but registration is required.
5 hours CLE pending in KS & MO ($50 fee)

Frank Waln, Sicangu Lakota Hip-Hop Artist, in Concert
Friday, March 30 | 7:30 p.m.
Lied Center of Kansas, 1600 Stewart Dr.
$25 adults | $14 students/youth

KU Powwow & Indigenous Culture Festival
Saturday, March 31 | Begins at noon
Lied Center of Kansas, 1600 Stewart Dr.
Free and open to the public
Presented by the KU First Nations Student Association in partnership with the Lied Center of Kansas, Haskell Cultural Center and Museum, Spencer Museum of Art, KU Office of Diversity and Equity and KU Office of Multicultural Affairs.

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