American Indian & Alaska Native Symposium to be named in honor of Vine Deloria, Jr. November 14, 2013

On November 14, the Annual American Indian & Alaska Symposium at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) will be renamed in honor of the late Vine Deloria, Jr. Deloria graduated from Augustana Seminary, Rock Island, Ill., a predecessor school of LSTC.
Special guests Susan Power, Elder (Standing Rock Sioux); Father Peter J. Powell, St. Augustine Center for American Indians; and Kirke Kickingbird (Kiowa) will be part of the renaming ceremony that will take place at 8 p.m. in the Refectory at LSTC, 1100 E. 55th Street, Chicago.

"Vine Deloria, Jr., was a tremendous witness and testimony to the American Indian/Alaska Native understanding of humanity. His affirmation of Grandfather/Great Spirit as the creator of all life was also an affirmation of the first article of the Christian creed," said the Rev. Dr. Albert “Pete” Pero Jr.

Historian, teacher, activist and author Vine Deloria, Jr. helped focus national attention on American Indian issues with his book, Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto, published in 1969. He was named by Time magazine as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. He was an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

After graduating from Augustana Seminary in 1963, Vine Deloria, Jr. served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. He earned a law degree from the University of Colorado in 1970 and began teaching at Western Washington State College in Bellingham, Wash. He became professor of political science at the University of Arizona in 1978 and established the first master’s degree program in the United States in American Indian Studies. He was on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder, from 1990 – 2000, and then returned to the University of Arizona to teach in the College of Law.

“Vine's life journey was a struggle against the politics of assimilation and a commitment to the liberation of all from the mentality and practice of colonialism,” said the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero, director of the Albert “Pete” Pero Jr. Multicultural Center at LSTC, the sponsor of the symposium.

About the symposium
This was the 4th Annual American Indian & Alaska Symposium sponsored by the Albert “Pete” Pero Multicultural Center at LSTC. It is held each November. This year it included a basket making class by Janelle Adair (Cherokee), traditional storytelling by Choogie Kingfisher (Cherokee), stick ball in the LSTC courtyard, a presentation by the Rev. Gordon Straw (Brothertown Nation), music by Native flute player Bill Buchholtz (Ojibwe) and Red Line Drum, screenings of the films Native Nations and Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience, and an Indian Taco dinner. Vance Blackfox (Cherokee), director of Youth in Mission at LSTC, produces the symposium on behalf of the Pero Multicultural Center.

About the Albert “Pete” Pero Jr. Multicultural Center
LSTC’s Multicultural Center, established in 2006, was renamed in 2011 to honor Albert “Pete” Pero Jr.’s efforts to make the Lutheran church a multicultural church. Dr. Pero was the first African Descent Lutheran in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in systematic theology. He was the first African Descent faculty member at LSTC, where he taught that our oneness in Christ through baptism leads us to “cultural self-transcendence” -- unity in diversity.

Each year, the Albert “Pete” Pero Multicultural Center sponsors month-long celebrations on campus of Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native, African Descent, Asian/Pacific Islander, and European-American heritages and the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration.

The vision for the Pero Multicultural Center includes cultural-specific programming that “helps people develop an awareness of their own cultures to give people the language to transmit that culture to others, enabling them to build bridges to other cultures.”



Vance Blackfox
Director, Youth in Mission

Cheryl Pero
Director, the Albert “Pete” Pero Jr. Multicultural Center at LSTC

Jan Boden
Director of Communication and Marketing

The Lutheran School of Theology (LSTC) is dedicated to bearing witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. Based in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, it is the leading urban Lutheran seminary training students for purposeful vocations in the global community. Aligned with its Lutheran heritage and built on a foundation of intellectual rigor, LSTC’s innovative, nationally recognized curriculum gives students skills for visionary Christian leadership in the public sphere.

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