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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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Native Faculty & Staff Council Snack and Chat
Tuesday, February 26 | 5 p.m.
Office of Multicultural Affairs classroom
University of Kansas
Topics TBD
Snacks provided; all KU faculty, staff and students welcome

Dawnland Film Screening and Q&A Panel
Thursday, March 7 | 7 p.m.
Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.
Lawrence, KS
For most of the 20th century, government agents systematically forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity. The film follows the Maine Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s travels to contemporary Wabanaki communities to witness intimate, sacred moments of truth-telling and healing, and reveals the untold narrative of Indigenous child removal in the United States. A panel Q&A will follow.
Free and open to the public. Light refreshments offered. Sponsored by the KU Indigenous Cultures Festival, the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center, the KU School of Social Welfare and the Lawrence Public Library.

KU Tribal Law & Government Conference: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Future of Federal Indian Law
Friday, March 8 | 8:15 a.m.-4:45 p.m.
Green Hall, University of Kansas
Free and lunch provided. CLEs available for a fee.
RSVP required

Native Faculty & Staff Council Snack and Chat
Tuesday, March 26 | 5 p.m.
Office of Multicultural Affairs classroom
University of Kansas
Topics TBD
Snacks provided; all KU faculty, staff and students welcome

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

KU Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival
Saturday, April 6 | Begins at noon
Lied Center of Kansas, 1600 Stewart Dr.
Lawrence, KS 66045
Free and open to the public

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

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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