David Martinez keynote speaker for Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium

October 30, 2020

The first night of the Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) features a keynote address by Dr. David Martinez (Akimel O’odham/Hia Ced O’odham/Mexican). The lecture takes place live Nov. 17, 7-8:30 p.m. Central time on Zoom. Register here to receive the Zoom link.

In this lecture, Martinez will discuss Vine Deloria Jr.’s historical significance and ongoing relevance to today’s Native American sovereignty movements with particular attention to his work at the intersection of environmental justice, tribal sovereignty, and tribal rights.

Martinez is associate professor of American Indian Studies at Arizona State University and the author of Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria Jr and the Birth of the Red Power Movement (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). Martinez’s work focuses on American Indian intellectual and political history, contemporary American Indian art and aesthetics, and O’odham culture and history.

On Nov. 18, Elona Street-Stewart (Delaware Nanticoke), Synod Executive for the Synod of the Lakes and Prairies (Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.) and co-moderator of the 22th General Assembly (2020) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will preach during worship at 11:15 a.m. Central time. She has been engaged for four decades in grass root and national advocacy on racial equity, Indian education, family empowerment and public policy. She was the first Native American elected to an urban school board in Minnesota as well as the first to be installed as a synod executive in the PCUSA. She was elected as a co-moderator of the 224th General Assembly (2020) of the PCUSA, a position she will hold for the next two years. She is the first Native American to be elected as moderator or co-moderator of the General Assembly.  Register here for the Zoom link.

Also on Nov. 18, 7-8:30 p.m. Central time, via Zoom, panelists Juana Majel-Dixon (Pauma-Yuima Band of Luiseno Indians), Dallas Goldtooth (Mdewakanton Dakota & Dińe) and Dr. Kyle Whyte (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) will explore the legacy of Vine Deloria, Jr.’s activism and scholarship. They will speak to the relationship of people to land that is woven throughout Deloria’s work. With particular attention to the issues of sovereignty and eco-justice that are of enduring importance to Native communities throughout these lands – and thus to the many people living on Native lands – this panel will challenge us to consider the gifts offered by Deloria’s work, and to commit ourselves to responding in the months and years to come, in the land to which we owe so much. Register for the panel discussion to receive the Zoom link. 

Juana Majel-Dixon teaches federal Indian law and U.S. policy at Palomar College and is a visiting professor at San Diego State University, Claremont Graduate University, and Cal State San Marcos. As a member of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) for nearly five decades, her work led to the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Tribal Law and Order Act in 2013, which established an Office of Tribal Justice within the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). As an advocate, educator, and traditional Native healer, she has traveled the world representing the unique perspectives of Indigenous peoples, raising awareness about Native sovereignty, tribal justice systems, racism, spirituality, healing, and education.

Dallas Goldtooth is Keep It in the Ground Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network. He travels extensively across Turtle Island to help fossil fuel and hard rock mining impacted communities tell their stories thru social media, video, and other forms of communication. He is also a Dakota cultural/language teacher, non-violent direct action trainer, and was one of the outstanding Water Protectors at Standing Rock/Oceti Sakowin Camp fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Kyle Whyte is the George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Justice at the School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan. His research addresses moral and political issues concerning climate policy and Indigenous peoples, the ethics of cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and science organizations, and problems of Indigenous justice in public and academic discussions of food sovereignty, environmental justice, and the anthropocene. He has partnered with numerous Tribes, First Nations and inter-Indigenous organizations in the Great Lakes region and beyond on climate change planning, education and policy. 

Vance Blackfox (Cherokee), founder and director of Other+Wise and creator and producer of the symposium, will serve as moderator of the sessions. Other+Wise is a co-sponsor of the 2020 Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium. Learn more about Other+Wise at www.otherwise.red

About the Vine Deloria Jr. Theological Symposium

In 2013, the Annual American Indian and Alaska Native Symposium at LSTC was renamed in honor of Vine Deloria Jr., an alumnus of Augustana Seminary, Rock Island, Ill., a predecessor school of LSTC. The symposium has been held in November each year since it began over 10 years ago. It has featured presentations, lectures, food and cultural activities. Past keynote speakers include Susan Kelly Power (Standing Rock Sioux), Rev. Dr. Gordon Straw (Brothertown Nation), Dr. Daniel Wildcat (Yuchi/Muskogee) and Prairie Rose Seminole (Three Affiliated Tribes of ND).

Updated 11/6/20


Erik Christensen

Pastor to the Community and Director of Worship


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