In an effort to continue addressing the issues raised by the John Evans Study Committee, Northwestern University has established a Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group.


Comprised of 37 students, faculty members and community members, the steering group is taking inspiration from the “One Book One Northwestern” program to support programming and projects and work to increase campus-wide interest in and understanding of Native topics and issues.

During this year’s One Book program, the Northwestern community has been reading Thomas King’s “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.” Focused on Native American issues, the One Book programming included 76 events – an all-time high.


The new steering group’s first meeting included a discussion about Northwestern’s progress in fulfilling the November 2014 recommendations of the University’s Native American Outreach and Inclusion Task Force. The group also discussed the sponsorship of a series of events during Native American Heritage Month in November.

The group is chaired by Northwestern professor and former Medill Dean Loren Ghiglione, the faculty chair of the 2015-16 One Book One Northwestern program. Ninah Divine, who will graduate from Northwestern in 2016, will provide staff support.

“The steering group hopes to involve all schools of the university,” Ghiglione said. “The recent hiring of faculty and post docs who are focused on Native subjects offers an opportunity for 2016-17 to be an especially important year in Northwestern’s growth.”

Ghiglione expects the committee to expand One Book’s efforts to work with the American Indian Center of Chicago, the Mitchell Museum of the American Indian in Evanston, the Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies and other member organizations of the Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative.

“Night at the Museum” was among the One Book programming. The night featured a mini-powwow and demonstrations of American Indian storytelling, beadwork and other Native crafts, bringing 2,400 first-year students to the Field Museum for a special after-hours visit.

One Book also developed a University-wide essay contest for incoming students and offered panels on provocative topics, including “Revisiting John Evans and the Sand Creek Massacre” and “Native American Stereotypes and Mascots in Sports.”

Other members of the Native American and Indigenous Peoples Steering Group include students Lorenzo Gudino (Fort Sill Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache), president of the Native American and Indigenous Student Alliance); Reuben Aguirre (Navajo), co-president of Native American Law Students Association;Jasmine Gurneau (Oneida/Menominee), a new admissions and student services staffer; Pamala Silas(Menominee), executive director of the National American Indian Housing Council; and Dorene Wiese(Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, Mississippi Band, White Earth Reservation Enrolled), president of the American Indian Association of Illinois.


View the original story, including the full list of members of the steering group, here.