Integrated Learning at St. Catherine University is a multidimensional expression of an active liberal arts pedagogy. Located at the intersection of creative energy and critical reflection, the Integrated Learning Series is one way we partner academics with activism, the paper with the performance, and the campus with the community. It is the array of courses, activities, speakers, events, performances, and exhibitions that coalesce into our ways of knowing. The Integrated Learning Series is the web that binds our learning experiences together and the narratives that connect our collective community.
2021-23 Series — Indigenous Thought Leadership
The Integrated Learning Series Committee invites you to our next series. Over a two-year cycle, we will explore and discuss the conditions for, and the implications of, Indigenous thought leadership.
Hybrid: Rauenhorst Ballroom (Coeur de Catherine) and virtual
Minnesota poet laureate Gwen Westerman, PhD, along with Dean Tarshia Stanley, PhD, (School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences) and Kristen Lillvis, PhD, (Mary Alice Muellerleile '60 Endowed Chair in English), invite the community to a collaborative, multi-medium art exhibition.
In her poem “Root Words,” Westerman compares the Dakota language to prairie grasses: both have strong roots that allow them to withstand adverse conditions and grow in “unexpected places.” Westerman creates a relationship between two different types of root systems to help her readers better understand both language and the natural world. What’s more, the poem — being shaped like a root system — bridges the realms of art and literature.
In the spirit of creating relationships and bringing together literature, art, dance, design, and other fields, Westerman invites the St. Kate’s and Twin Cities communities to create together and showcase our work when she returns to campus in April. Starting from “Root Words,” consider what connection you might develop to help your audience reach a new level understanding — of you, your identity, culture, likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, whatever compels you at this moment. You may collaborate with others or create independently, but regardless we’ll be working together — and with Dr. Westerman — around this theme of connection.
Join our collaborative art community!
Westerman visited campus in February to share her poetry and fiber art with the St. Kate's community. When she returns on April 27, we’ll enjoy readings, an art exhibit, movement pieces, and more. If you would like to share your creation or have questions, email Kristen Lillvis at email@example.com. If you’re looking for collaborators, St. Kate's faculty and staff can help you find them. No firm ideas or experience required! All creators are welcome.
Westerman is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Oyate and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is the co-author of Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota, which won a 2013 Minnesota Book Award and a 2014 Hognander Minnesota History Award.
COVID Guidelines: Masks are optional for all fully vaccinated and boosted individuals in most non-academic settings on campus. Full details can be found here.
SATURDAY, MAY 7, 2022
8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Fort Snelling State Park Visitor's Center and Indian Mounds Park
In partnership with the Minnesota Humanities Center, we will embark on an immersive experience that will take us to sites of great significance to Dakota people in the Twin Cities. Participants will learn from Dakota community members through stories and histories that have often been left out of our state’s history.
Lunch, catered by Owamni, is included as part of this trip.
Ethan Neerdaels, Bdewakantunwan Dakota, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – American Indian Studies/Dakota Language programs. He currently coordinates the Indian Education program at Osseo Area Schools and works with Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, a 501c3 dedicated to reversing the trend of language loss and raising future generations of Dakota speakers.
Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation. Her educational background includes a BA in Dakota Art and Culture, and a MAE-Teacher Leadership. She worked in Indian Education for the Osseo Area School District 2005-2020 and has been the Chairperson of the Minnesota Indian Education Association since 2018. Currently she serves as the Project Director of We Are Still Here MN.
- Participants are expected to attend the entirety of the workshop.
- Participants will provide their own transportation.
- Participants must bring a mask and wear it anytime they will be closer than six feet away from others.
- We've arranged for a lunch catered by Owamni as part of this trip.
- Learning from Place: Bdote will happen rain or shine – participants should dress appropriately for the weather.
- Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk on unpaved trails.
- The Fort Snelling State Park portion of the workshop will require a Minnesota State Parks pass. We will be happy to provide you with a pass in case you need one.
- The Minnesota Humanities Center team will utilize a tour guide audio system to allow for safe social distancing. They will have disposable headphones available, but you are encouraged to bring your own (with a jack connection – not Bluetooth).
Previous 2021-23 Series Events
The REDress Project
October 23–November 14, 2021
Campus quad (outdoors)
The REDress Project is an installation art project created by Métis artist Jaime Black. This outdoor exhibition is organized in collaboration with The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery and The O'Shaughnessy.
The installation consists of red dresses suspended in public spaces to mark the absence and evoke the presence of Indigenous women and girls who have gone missing or been murdered.
Indigenous women face higher rates of violence than any other cultural group in Canada and the United States. Indigenous families and communities have been advocating for generations to make changes to the colonial system that often treat the perpetrators of this violence with impunity. The REDress Project works to create space for families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Persons (MMIP) and their supporters to tell their stories and to find solidarity in the struggle to protect the rights of Indigenous women and girls. The project provides a space to hear from frontline community workers, Indigenous women academics, elders and knowledge keepers on how we can work together as a community to bring justice to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and their families.
- Guests attending The REDress Project may park in the O'Shaughnessy lot or the Dew Drop lot. Campus map
- Print and place the event guest permit on your dashboard. Parking permit
COVID-19 Visitor Precautions
While our communities work to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we ask visitors to observe additional precautions. Read more
Saturday, October 23, 2 pm.
The O'Shaughnessy Patio
Jerry Dearly, Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota
Ringing Shield Singers, Wakíŋyaŋ LaPointe and Thorne LaPointe, Sičáŋǧu Lakȟóta from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota
Becky Roloff '76 MBA, President
Anita Thomas PhD, Executive Vice President and Provost
Tarshia Stanley PhD, Dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences
Minnesota State Senator Mary Kunesh '95, Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe
Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Anne McKeig '89, White Earth Nation
Jessica Ryan, Vice Chair of the Brothertown Indian Nation
Sandy White Hawk, Sičáŋǧu Lakȟóta from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. Elder in Residence at the Indian Child Welfare Act Law Center, Minneapolis, MN
This event is free and open to the public. ASL interpretation will be provided.
The first event of our Integrated Learning Series — The REDress Project – closes this weekend.
All are welcome to join us for the Closing Ceremony this Sunday, November 14, at 2 pm on The O’Shaughnessy Patio. The ceremony will include:
- Opening prayer
- An opening song by Lyz Jaakola and her group
- Remarks from State Senator Mary Kunesh '95
- Remarks from St. Kate's Community Members
- Lyz Jaakola and her group will lead the community in a round dance
This event is free and open to the public; ASL interpretation will be provided.
Wednesday, November 3, 2:15–3:20 pm.
Professor Margaret McCue-Enser is hosting a special guest speaker for the Rhetoric of Resistance: Power, Place, and Protest (COMM/CRST 4994): Marisa Cummings, CEO of Minnesota Women's Indian Resource Center.
Marisa Cummings (Miakonda) is Umonhon and belongs to the Buffalo Tail Clan of the Sky people as well as the Walker and Springer families.
The Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC) is a non-profit social and educational services organization committed to the holistic growth and development of American Indian women and their families. Founded in 1984, MIWRC provides a broad range of programs designed to educate and empower American Indian women and their families, and to inform and assist those who work providing services to the community.
Tuesday, March 8, 6–7:30 p.m.
International Women's Day panel of young Indigenous activists active in climate and environmental advocacy, decolonizing education, tribal sovereignty, LGBTQ+ issues, and youth leadership.
- Charitie Ropati (she/her, they/them), a member of the Native village of Kongiganak Alaska, is a Yup'ik and Samoan environmental and education advocate. Ropati has worked to implement an accurate and inclusive history sub-curriculum of Indigenous peoples to indigenize Western pedagogies in American public education, and is currently an undergraduate at Columbia University studying Civil Engineering and Anthropology and studies permafrost degradation in coastal Native communities in Alaska.
- Jasilyn Charger (they/them) is a grass roots land and water defender and protector. Jasilyn is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. They are a co-founder of the International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) via Standing Rock 2016 and the grassroots organization 7th Defenders. They advocate for native and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as uplifting youth voices and giving support to the next generation who need it through research projects towards land and food sovereignty and renewable energy.
- Naelyn Pike (she/her), Chiricahua Apache, is from San Carlos, Arizona. She is currently a student at Mesa Community College and serves as Secretary of the Office of the Chairman for the San Carlos Apache Tribe. She is also a member of the Apache Stronghold. Naelyn is passionate about her culture, identity, and tribal sovereignty, and has become an internationally renowned Indigenous Rights and environmental advocate leader who has presented to Congress and a number of different conference events. Alongside her grandfather, Wendsler Nosie Sr., and mother, Vanessa Nosie, Pike co-leads the Apache Stronghold, which is fighting to stop a foreign-owned mining project that would desecrate Oak Flat, an Apache Sacred Site.
A member of the St. Catherine University Board of Trustees, the Honorable Anne K. McKeig '89 was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court as an associate justice by Governor Mark Dayton in June 2016. A descendant of the White Earth Nation, McKeig is the first American Indian to sit on the state's highest court, and her appointment also created a women's majority on the court. Prior to this, McKeig served as a district court judge since 2008. She has also served as a presiding judge in family court in the Fourth Judicial District in Hennepin County, Minnesota. McKeig worked for over 16 years as a former assistant attorney in Hennepin County handling child protection cases and adoption matters with a specialty in cases that fall under the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act. She co-authored law school curriculum entitled Child Abuse and the Law, which she currently teaches as an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law and University of St. Thomas School of Law. In addition, she trained the Minnesota Department of Human Services for over 10 years on Child Protection procedures.
McKeig currently serves on a national advisory council working with Futures Without Violence and the National Juvenile and Family Court Judges Association (NJFCJ) on child welfare issues involving children and families experiencing domestic violence. She has spoken at many national conferences regarding child protection issues and working with tribal communities, as well as the intersection of family court and child protection.
Angela Hall Slaughter ‘97 is in-house counsel for Aetna, Inc. where she leads the Product legal team focusing on healthcare regulatory issues. She is the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Legal Rights Center, a Trustee of St. Catherine University, and is an active volunteer at her children’s schools.
Slaughter has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Kate’s. She attended the University of Minnesota Law School where she earned a juris doctor in 2001. She later returned to St. Kate’s for a second major certificate in philosophy.
She is a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe.
State Senator Mary Kunesh '95 was elected to the MN House of Representatives in 2016 and then elected to the Senate, District 41, in 2020.
She is the first woman of Native descent to be elected a Minnesota Senator and serves as an Assistant Minority Leader for the DFL Senate Caucus. Mary is the daughter and granddaughter of members of the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux Tribe and is committed to supporting positive legislation for our American Indian and marginalized people in Minnesota.
Kunesh is the author of the legislation and Chair of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task force in MN and the permanent office of Missing and Murdered indigenous Relatives in state government, both first in the national initiatives.
Yellowhammer is a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with heritage in the White Earth Nation on her mother’s side. She was appointed as a judge in Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District in November 2020 by Governor Tim Walz. Prior to this, she served as an assistant state attorney general and as an attorney at the Indian Child Welfare Law Center.
As Hennepin County’s American Indian community relations development manager, Yellowhammer worked to bring flags from Ojibwe and Dakota nations into the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center courtroom. She was also a judge and appellate judge on the White Earth Tribal Court. Yellowhammer began her legal career as an Assistant Attorney General in the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office in the Education and Human Services Divisions, specializing in mental health law.
Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota.
She is the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute, the first organization of its kind with a goal to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by foster care or adoption to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people.
White Hawk organizes Truth Healing Reconciliation Community Forums that bring together adoptees/fostered individuals and their families and professionals with the goal to identify post-adoption issues and to identify strategies that will prevent removal of First Nations children. She has also initiated an ongoing support group for adoptees and birth relatives in the Twin Cities Area.
At the Indian Child Welfare Law Office in Minneapolis, White Hawk serves as the Elder in Residence and is a consultant for the Capacity Building Center for Tribes, Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies University of Duluth, Minnesota. She also served as Commissioner for the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission and served as an Honorary Witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools in Canada.