About this Event
People-Centered Internet has worked to foster and support Internet connectivity in Native American communities since its founding.
PCI is pleased to launch its 2020 salon series with an evening dedicated to Native American culture and connectivity, featuring author Gerald Vizenor. We will also be joined by Darrah Blackwater of Farmington, New Mexico and Mariel Triggs, CEO of MuralNet, to discuss Project Eagle Feather, PCI’s project to support connectivity in Native American communities.
Date: February 21, 2020
Time: 6 – 8:30 PM for program
You are invited to stay for conversation through 9 pm
Location: Mei Lin’s kitchen, Palo Alto
Gerald Vizenor is of Anishinabe heritage and an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation. The author of more than 20 books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, Vizenor attended college on the GI Bill after serving in the armed forces for three years, mostly in Japan. He studied at New York University and did postgraduate work at Harvard University and the University of Minnesota. From 1964 to 1968 he directed the American Indian Employment and Guidance Center in Minneapolis. He was also a reporter for the Minneapolis Tribune, where he investigated the actions of American Indian activists.
Vizenor’s poetry collections include The Old Park Sleeper (1961), Empty Swings (1967), Matsushima: Pine Islands collected haiku (1984), Summer in the Spring: Anishinaabe Lyrics Poems and Stories (1993), Raising the Moon Vines (1999), Cranes Arise (1999), Bear Island: The War at Sugar Point (2006), a narrative poem, and Almost Ashore: Selected Poems (2006).
A writer whose oeuvre has avoided simple categorization, Vizenor drew on Native American trickster stories to contribute to his science fiction novel Bearheart: The Heirship Chronicles (1990). His other novels include Griever: An American Monkey King in China (1990), which won the New York Fiction Collective Prize and the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation; The Heirs of Columbus (1991); and Hiroshima Bugi (2003). Vizenor’s nonfiction works have also garnered awards. His Interior Landscapes: Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors (1990) won the PEN Oakland–Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, which was also awarded to his anthology Native American Literature (1996).
Among his honors, Vizenor has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association. He has taught at Lake Forest College, in Illinois; the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Tianjin University, in China; and the University of Oklahoma. He is professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, and a professor of American studies at the University of New Mexico. He is a 2020 Distinguished Visitor at Stanford Haas Center.
Mariel Triggs is the CEO of MuralNet, a nonprofit that helps tribal communities deploy their own wireless Internet networks. She has taken part in every aspect of builds from applying for licenses to mounting equipment. Spectrum acquisition has been the biggest challenge in building tribal networks and Mariel has testified to Congress about the hardships. As an engineer, educator, and researcher, she has pushed innovation and her work with online math curriculum proved how vital access to the Internet is for developing STEM mindsets. Because of this, Mariel strives to make the Internet accessible for all students.
Darrah Blackwater is from Farmington, New Mexico, and is a citizen of the Navajo Nation. Blackwater is pursuing her J.D. from the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law. Blackwater has interned in the office of the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., with the Inspector General of the Department of Interior, and at Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker as a federal Indian law clerk. She is a fierce advocate for Indigenous peoples and is focusing her energy on the fight for spectrum sovereignty. In her free time, she enjoys wandering the globe, playing tennis, writing, and hiking with her dog, Kai.