Voices of Indigenous Peoples Series Presented by Kent District Library and World Affairs Council of Western Michigan


Patricia LeBon Herb image

Kent District Library and World Affairs Council of Western Michigan are pleased to present Voices of Indigenous Peoples for Community and Healing, a free program series for adults.

Around the world, the stories of indigenous people have been silenced. This series sheds light on challenges facing indigenous groups and the work done to maintain and advocate for their cultural and political identity. Out of historical and continued marginalization, indigenous groups can give voice to the power of community and healing in the face of multi-generational trauma. While history has been written, it provides the opportunity to learn and shape a more just future.

“There has been growing interest in acknowledging past treatment of indigenous communities in the U.S. and worldwide. There are also contemporary issues, like missing and murdered indigenous people, that impact society as a whole,” said Erica Kubik, Ph.D., Director of Programming & Events at World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. “The series helps to provide background on contemporary native issues so that citizens can better understand the context of indigenous lives in Michigan, the U.S. and beyond.”  

The three-part series will take place on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 PM at the Grandville Branch of KDL. The branch is located at 4055 Maple St. SW. Attendance is free and registration is not required.  


October 18: The History and Consequences of Indigenous Boarding Schools in Michigan and Beyond 

From 1819 to 1969, 408 federal boarding schools for Native Americans operated across 37 states or territories, including five in Michigan. Join Patricia Shackleton, executive director of the Anishinaabegamig Cultural Learning Center, to learn about the education of Indian children and the Dawes Act. The program will examine the Indian experience, health education, the welfare of the Indian child at boarding school and the child’s daily routine. From this history, learn of the many sad consequences that resulted from the Dawes Act, including how, today, Indian health markers are severe and critical. 

October 25: She’s Gone Missing: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women 

There is an epidemic that no one is talking about outside of Indian Country—the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Why aren’t there concrete statistics? Why do the crimes go unreported? What has the FBI done to help with this epidemic? What does “Missing White Woman Syndrome” have to do with this? Learn some history from Heather Bruegl, public historian and indigenous activist, see why this is an issue and consider what we can do in and out of Indian Country to make sure that our sisters, mothers, daughters, wives and girlfriends don’t become a statistic

November 1: Geyabi Indayaamin omaa—We Are Still Here: Native Americans and the US-Canada Border 

More than fifty indigenous nations are separated by the international border between the United States and Canada. Most Americans and Canadians are unaware of the divisive effect of the border or of the existence of native homelands outside official reservations and reserves. Guided by minaadendamowin, meaning “respect” in the Anishinaabe language, Professor Guntram Herb and Patricia LeBon Herb, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, will narrate the story of indigenous peoples in the borderlands. They will offer a brief history of colonization, what they gleaned during a 25,000-mile border journey from Maine to Alaska and point to the remarkable endurance and strength of Native peoples in North America. The talk will combine scholarly analysis with maps, poetry and original art.

For details on this series and other in-person programs at Kent District Library, visit worldmichigan.org/all-events.