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Protect Your Spirit: Native Resistance to Settler Violence
Native peoples have lived in the Western Hemisphere since time immemorial. Since then, Indigenous communities throughout the American continent have been custodians of the land, air, and waterways in which they live. Native peoples have rich diversity and achievements in what Western Culture would conceive as mathematics, physics, astronomy, art, poetry, etc. In 1492 CE Europeans began sustained efforts to settle Native people’s lands in the Western Hemisphere, and to destroy Indigenous views and practices. Despite these efforts, Native nations persist, and their sovereignty and cultures continue. The Department of History at Virginia Tech is thrilled to host a panel featuring five experts on Native resistance to settler violence including physical, ideological, and environmental violence. The panel will consist of: Crystal Ann Cavalier, Desiree Shelley, Melissa Faircloth, Amanda Lee Keikialoha Savage, and Nizhoni Tallas.

Apr 15, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Crystal Ann Cavalier / Desiree Shelley
Crystal Cavalier-Keck (left) is the co-founder of Seven Directions of Service with her husband. She is a citizen of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation in Burlington, NC. She is the Chair of the Environmental Justice Committee for the NAACP, a board member of the Haw River Assembly and the a member of the 2020 Fall Cohort of the Sierra Club's Gender Equity and Environment Program and Women's Earth Alliance (WEA) Accelerator for Grassroots Women Environmental Leaders. Desiree Shelley (right)(Monacan), originally from Baltimore, MD, moved to the Roanoke area in 2017, where she now works as a climate justice organizer with Mothers Out Front. Desiree has a degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Maryland and has worked in the fields of environmental education, natural resource management, community greening and environmental restoration in Baltimore City.
Melissa Faircloth / Amanda Lee Keikialoha Savage
Melissa Faircloth (left) serves as the Director of the American Indian and Indigenous Community Center at Virginia Tech and also advises the Indigenous student organization, Native at VT. Originally from North Carolina, she is an enrolled member of the Coharie Tribe and earned her bachelors and masters at East Carolina University. Amanda Lee Savage (right) is an instructor and an academic advisor in the Department of History at the University of Memphis and has lived and worked in Memphis, TN since 2010. During that time, she’s delivered numerous talks around the state addressing indigenous issues in American culture and the work required to decolonize civic and academic spaces. Her current project, Decolonizing Memphis, aims to create a decolonized history of the city, one that centers indigenous and immigrant narratives, embraces indigenous epistemologies, and generates new types of Native-authored sources for academics and activists to incorporate in their work.
Nizhoni Tallas
Nizhoni Tallas is a member of the Navajo Nation and a Senior studying Natural Resources and Conservation at Virginia Tech. She is a part of Native at Virginia Tech, and as a organization got Indigenous People's Day recognized, the first university to do so in Virginia. Nizhoni is a Udall and Gilman Scholar and most recently received the Environmental History Award for her project "10,000 years on Bent Mountain". She is grateful for the support she has received throughout her time at Virginia Tech and the numerous communities and Individuals that believed in her.