Presentation - Vibrant, Resilient, Still Here: Contemporary Native Americans in Illinois

The session would be planned for  1 to 1.5 hour long presentation that includes some powerpoint slides, provoking questions in smaller groups and ends in an informal circle, similar to a talking circle, to connect some of the themes with participants own family and community experiences.

Issues covered:

  • How the public learns about and sees Native Americans and some of the misconceptions
  • Demographic data
  • Topical issues that the community has prioritized
  • Common values
  • Opportunities to engage
  • Resources to learn more
  • Engaged storytelling, song (for younger audiences)

Resources including readings, institutions and community organizations where participants can learn more will be shared. For younger audiences, cultural artifacts, storytelling and/or songs, traditional games would be utilized.

The presentation method is tailored to match the targeted audience.  With younger audience, more interactive opportunities, visuals and artifacts would be helpful.  For older audiences, sharing more details on the issues they might see in the mainstream media and creating a safe space for answering questions they have.

Program Topics

  • Contemporary
  • Community/Demographics
  • Native American

Book this presentation by first scheduling a date with Pamala via email, then completing the Road Scholars Host Organization application.


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About Road Scholar Pamala Silas

Pamala Silas is a member of Menominee Indian Tribe and an Oneida descendant. She has a BS in Economics from DePaul University and a Certification in Association Management (CAE). For over 25 years Pamala led local, and national nonprofit organizations that address issues of equity, leadership, community development and education in underrepresented communities. Pam has provided executive leadership for organizations such as National American Indian Housing Council in Washington DC, Native American Journalists Association and American Indian Science & Engineering. She also served as Executive Director for Metropolitan Tenants Organization, leading aggressive direct action organizing with low income tenants in Chicago. She currently works for Northwestern University as the Associate Director for the Center for Native American and Indigenous Research that operates as a hub for multidisciplinary, collaborative work informed by and responsive to Native American and Indigenous communities.

Learn More and Follow Pamala

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About Illinois Humanities Road Scholars Speakers Bureau

Since 1997, our Road Scholars Speakers Bureau has invited Illinois writers, storytellers, historians, folklorists, musicians, and living history actors, among others, to share their expertise and enthusiasm with people throughout our state. It also supports local nonprofit organizations – including libraries, museums, arts councils, historical societies, civic groups, and many others – in presenting free-admission cultural programs of high quality to their communities for a modest application fee, which can be waived if your organization is experiencing financial hardship.

Our Road Scholars Speakers Bureau roster features speakers hailing from many different communities across Illinois who offer presentations on topics in history, archaeology, philosophy, literature, theater, film, music, politics, and other subjects that are thought-provoking and engaging. The breadth of these offerings reflects our conviction that the humanities can help us to examine the world in all its varied shades and discover in it the remarkable, the strange, the fantastic, the tragic, the humorous, and the beautiful.

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