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Free Event Offers Insights Into Local Native American Culture

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Sonora, CA – Columbia College Foundation and the college have decided to take plans for an on-campus event public, neatly timing it to coincide with National Native American Heritage month.

The result is a free and open to the public evening on Thursday, Nov. 16 at Columbia College’s Dogwood Forum, where speakers and a moderator will offer a look “Inside California’s Native American Experience,” as the event is being billed.

Part of an ongoing community lecture series hosted by the college foundation in cooperation with faculty and regional partners, the slated speakers are author and ethnic studies professor Dr. Melissa Moreno of Woodland Community College, Carlos Geisdorff, who is the cultural coordinator of the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, and moderator Stephanie Beaver, a Columbia College counselor and Hupa tribal member who organized the program.

Beaver notes that perspectives of Native California people are important to invite and showcase, especially in a college setting, in order to provide a missing voice and perspective that can be shared via a larger public system. Of the event, she adds, “It’s great for natives and non-natives alike – it will help everyone gain formal academic knowledge and cultural insight they may not have had access to. It’s great for anyone who works with native people or has a desire to understand native history and present experiences. Who couldn’t benefit from that?”

Chiming in, Columbia College Foundation President Colette Such states, “This is a chance to hear from and learn more about a vital part of our local culture — and to help bring light to their story and the history of California. The Foundation is pleased to help bring these speakers together for an enlightening and educational evening.”

The doors at Columbia College’s Dogwood Forum will open at 6 p.m. for the Nov. 16 event and the program itself, which is sponsored by Chicken Ranch Rancheria-Chicken Ranch Casino and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians-Black Oak Casino Resort, will run from 6:30 to 8 p.m. For more details, click here or call 209 588-5065.