When: Tuesday 3/18/14, 6:30pm
Where: Liberal Arts Building Room 205
Panelists: Dr Reno Charette, Dr Elena Petroska, Dr Xia Chao

Panelist:  Dr Reno Charette, Director, MSUB American Indian Outreach, Instructor of Native American Studies

Topic:  "The Evolution of Indian Education:  A Story of 6 Generations"

My story begins in the late 1800’s when my great grandmother was locked in a chicken crate for speaking Crow at school, yet she encouraged her children to seek skills for the modern world.  In 1916, my grandmother was taken away from her parents for 9 years to attend boarding school where she became a ballerina.  Her teachers scorned her return to her reservation as “going back to the blanket”.  Years later, she fought against unjust school policies.  These stories and those of the following generations reveal the painful impact of Western education on American Indian children and their families while also illustrating the evolution of education as a tool in the re-emergence of warrior achievements.

Bio: Reno Charette serves Montana State University Billings as the Director of the American Indian Outreach Office.   She teaches Native American Studies courses and works on cultural projects that help American Indian students feel comfortable and succeed while attending college at MSUB.  She holds a Master of Arts in History with a specialty in the American West supported by a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Native American Studies.  She attended Chief Dull Knife College during the summer of 1989 to study Northern Cheyenne language under the late, Bill Tall Bull’s tutelage. Charette is a member of the Ties-In-Bundle clan of the Crow Nation and a descendent of the Pembina band of Turtle Mountain Chippewa.  She was raised on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation where she attended school in Busby and St. Labre.

Charette formerly served as Governor Brian Schweitzer’s Coordinator of Indian Affairs for the state of Montana.  She also has a long work history in higher education that includes her services as the Project Directorfor the Big Horn Teacher Projects at MSUB, the Project Coordinator for the Health Careers Opportunity Program in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Montana as well as an academic advisor for the Educational Opportunity Program at University of Montana. She serves on numerous boards for MSUB and the Billings region.  In her spare time she sews and beads Indian dancing outfits for friends and family.

Above all, her most important contribution to the world is that she is a mother of four children and grandmother of six.

CREDIT: Gertrude Kasebier, about 1898:
Zitkala-Sa was a writer and activist also known as Gertrude Simmons Bonnin (1876-1938). She exposed the hardships faced by students at Native American boarding schools by writing about her own experiences as a student and as a teacher. Zitkala-Sa published a book of tribal folklore called Old Indian Legends. She also founded the National Council of American Indians, which was trans-tribal, to lobby for better treatment for all.

Panelist:  Dr. Elena Petroska, MSUB Adjunct Professor of Slavic Languages

Topic: "The Status of Women in Yugoslavia and Macedonia"

International Women’s Day (March 8) was, and still is celebrated in all former Yugoslavia, as well as most parts of the world, especially (post) socialist countries. One of the positive aspects of the socialist system in former Yugoslavia was the relatively high level of education, and many educated Yugoslavs were women, dominating the public relations industry. In Macedonia, both the Constitution and the national laws guarantee complete equality between men and women.  Despite this, women are not represented equally in all economic, social and political sectors. The life of women differs in rural and urban areas, and in different cultural settings.

Bio: Elena Petroska is professor of South Slavic Languages and Linguistics at the University of Cyril and Methodius (UKIM) in Skopje, Macedonia.  She received her Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics from UKIM and has taught, lectured and published in Europe, Australia, and the United States.  She has received many awards and grants, including a Department of State grant to study the status of heritage language learners of Macedonian in the United States.  She is presently teaching language and linguistics courses in the College of Arts and Sciences at MSU Billings.

Panelist:  Dr Xia Chao, Director, MSUB Intensive English Language/English as a Second Language Programs

Topic: "Language, Identity, Power, and Socialization"

This talk will explore the interaction among language, culture, power and socialization through my experience as well as some of my research subjects. An individual’s language and/or academic socialization intersects with languaculture (Agar, 1994) and power embedded within the nested contexts. How can minority professionals confidently cross linguistic and cultural borders? What power dynamics do they experience throughout the socialization process? 

Bio: Xia Chao is Director of Language Program in the Office of International Studies and Faculty of TESOL Education in the College of Education at Montana State University Billings. Her research focuses on second language acquisition and teaching, biliteracy development, critical literacy, critical discourse analysis, and immigrant adults and children's literacy practices in home, school, and community contexts. Her work has appeared in a variety of top-tier journals including Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Journal of Literacy Research, and Linguistics and Education. Her previous teaching experiences were in the elementary and collegiate levels.