Native American author set to educate attendees on Native American people and culture

Mike Brown

A nationally recognized author and professor will educate members of the Iowa State and Ames community about Native Americans and Native American culture Wednesday night.

Anton Treuer, author of “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask” and member of the Ojibwe tribe will give a lecture based in part on this work  at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union.

The book features more than 120 questions and answers about Native Americans. Topics range from the importance of tribal languages to the real story of Thanksgiving, among others.

Blair Flammond, president of the United Native American Student Association, said the decision to bring Treuer to Iowa State was made after she read “Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask” in one of her classes.

Flammond said she noticed that Iowa does not teach as much about Native Americans and their history as much as her home state of South Dakota, and she hopes this lecture will provide an opportunity for more visibility for Native Americans and their culture at Iowa State.

Flammond said she hopes students will come to the event with an open mind and a willingness to learn more.

“We don’t really get any Native American people here,” Flammond said. “The Native American population here on campus is pretty small, so it’s kind of a big deal when we have a Native American speaker come.”

Director of Lectures Amanda Knief said she believes the lecture is a chance to continue conversations of recent public events which include Native American issues.

“In a state where so many of our rivers, counties and towns are named after indigenous persons and cultures, I think that we do a very poor job of educating ourselves and our children about the history of indigenous people,” Knief said. “So any time we get an opportunity for someone to come and educate us about those that were here first, is a good one, and one I hope that students, faculty, staff, and the community take advantage of.”

Knief also said she feels white guilt hinders opportunities to ask questions and learn more about Native American cultures, and she hopes attendees that come are not afraid to ask questions.

Treuer’s lecture is the 2019 Richard Thompson Memorial Lecture, a series where a prominent Native American speaker is featured in the Iowa State lecture series.

Attendance is free for students, and there will be a book singing at the end of the event, as well as an opportunity to purchase Treuer’s book. There will also be time allotted for an open question and answer portion at the end of the lecture.