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Micah Swimmer, Class of 2017

Why did you choose KU’s Indigenous Studies Program?  Micah Swimmer poses with Dr. Stephanie Fitzgerald and Dr. Kelly Berkson, members of his master's exam committee
The main reason I chose KU was because the program had a concentration on Preservation and Management of Indigenous Resources: Language Documentation and Revitalization. [Ed. note: Prior to 2011, ISP was under a different name and included tracks.] After reading the core courses and requirements, I knew that there wasn’t a better place to be than in that program.

What was your main area of research/academic interest?
My main area of research was on the status of various tribes and their languages. I studied the methodologies tribes were using to save their language so that I could return home and do the same. During my time at KU I also became interested in linguistics. I feel that second language learners could benefit tremendously from a solid base of linguistics.      

How are you using that research and the skills gained through the ISP program now?
As of right now, I am developing a curriculum and guide for an adult immersion program. The goal here is to develop as many fluent speakers, or as close to it, as possible so they can teach in our schools, community, and to their families. I have been working with our brothers and sisters from the Department of Cherokee Nation’s Cultural Outreach, as they have an adult apprentice program that is doing really well. We share ideas and practices but continue to work for the main goal, and that is to save our language. We look to start our program this upcoming March.

You took a few years off before coming back for your master’s. What led you to want to finish? What did you do in the interim?
I felt like a cloud of unfinished business was always lingering over my head that was never going away until I finished or at least tried to finish. During my time off I accepted a position as an early childhood supervisor at our Language Immersion School. I wanted to focus on the school and help my second-language learner staff learn the language the best way I knew how.

Let’s look ahead a bit. What are your goals for the future?
My main goal for the future is to run a successful adult immersion program.

You’re from the same town as Ethan Clapsaddle, another ISP master’s student. How do you know each other? Have you helped push each other to finish your degrees?
Yes, Ethan I are great friends. We both have sons who play on the same basketball teams, and Ethan and I coach our boys AAU basketball team. I think it was at a practice I mentioned an assignment, and he said, yeah he’s got one due, too. I asked where he was in school, and he said KU! I immediately said, ‘Me too!’ We looked like two dogs jumping around, but after that we stayed on each other to finish.

We heard something about a road trip with you and Ethan on your way to your master’s defenses? Can you tell me a little about how you got to Lawrence for your defenses?
Every November my family and I travel to Oklahoma to visit the in-laws, and every November my daughter plays in a basketball tournament in Henrietta, Oklahoma, with her cousins from there. My son never gets to play because he doesn’t have any cousins his age that play in the tournament. So, one day, Ethan I were talking about different tournaments we should hit up over break and I mentioned taking our AAU boys to one in Oklahoma. We both agreed that it’d be good for them to play against other competition, so we put the word out to the other boys and we started fund raising. Around that time, we scheduled our defenses to fall right after we were done in Oklahoma. It was a great trip and we enjoyed every minute of it!     


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Local Events

Indigenous Aesthetics in Visual + Performing Art
Tuesday, March 26 | 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Lied Center Seymour Gallery
1600 Stewart Dr., Lawrence, KS 66045
Part of the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival

"MEKKO" Showing and Filmmaker Q&A with Sterlin Harjo
Wednesday, March 27 | 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Lawrence Arts Center
940 New Hampshire St., Lawrence, KS 66044
Part of the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival

Dwelling Build – Wichita Grasshouse
Construction begins Thursday, March 28 and continues through Tuesday, April 2
Lied Center, University of Kansas
1600 Stewart Dr., Lawrence, KS 66045
Part of the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival

Indigenous Community Building through the Arts
Thursday, March 28 | 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art
University of Kansas
Part of the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival

Cider Gallery Opening and Live Painting with Steven Grounds
Friday, March 29 | 5 p.m.-9 p.m.
Cider Gallery
810 Pennsylvania St., Lawrence, KS 66044
Part of the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival

Steven Grounds Artist Talk and Reception
Sunday, March 31 | 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Location TBA
Reception begins at 5 p.m.
Part of the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival

"Inherent Innovation: Evolving Woodland Attire" MFA Thesis Exhibition by Jodi Webster
March 31-April 4
Gallery hours: Sun.: 1 p.m.-4:30 p.m.; Mon.-Thur.: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Fri.: 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Closing reception April 4 | 5 p.m.-7 p.m.
Chalmers Hall Art & Design Gallery
1467 Jayhawk Blvd.

Haskell College and Career Fair
Thursday, April 4 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Coffin Sports Complex, Haskell Indian Nations University
155 Indian Ave., Lawrence, KS
Contact Angelina Adams at 785-830-2775 for more information

Nataanii Means Performance
Friday, April 5 | 7:30 p.m.
Lied Center, University of Kansas
1600 Stewart Dr., Lawrence, KS 66045
Tickets: $25 for adults, $14 for students/youth
Order tickets online at www.lied.ku.edu or by calling the ticket office at 785-864-2787

KU FNSA Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival
Saturday, April 6 | 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Lied Center of Kansas, 1600 Stewart Dr.
Lawrence, KS 66045
Free and open to the public
Tipi dedication to begin at 9:30 a.m.
Volunteer for the powwow and ICF, including the grasshouse build

April NFSC Meeting
Friday, April 12 | 2 p.m.
Location TBA
University of Kansas

Native Faculty & Staff Council Snack and Chat
Tuesday, April 23 | 5 p.m.
Office of Multicultural Affairs classroom
University of Kansas
Topics TBD
Snacks provided; all KU faculty, staff and students welcome

Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Gathering
Friday, April 26-Sunday, April 28
Flint Hills near Council Grove, KS
Join Indigenous Elders as they share their Native American culture and explore tradition and cultural issues at this annual gathering
All are invited
Register online by Friday, April 19
Hosted by the Flint Hills Wisdom Keepers Foundation, 501(c)3
For more information, call 785-477-9306 or visit www.fhwisdomkeepers.org
**To attend the Sacred Drum Workshop on Saturday evening, register with Terri Delahanty by Friday, April 5

May NFSC Meeting
Friday, May 10 | 2 p.m.
Location TBA
University of Kansas

2nd Annual Young Professionals Powwow + Trade Show and Convention
Wednesday, July 17 | Conference: 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Powwow: 4 p.m.-10 p.m.
Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. 6th St.
Lawrence, KS
Dancing and signing competitions for 18- to 35-year-olds
Conference registration $25-$35, includes lunch, resume-building, professional headshots, networking, prizes, educational workshops, and more.
Powwow is free and open to the public

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