Published: Sept. 17, 2019

Treaty of Saginaw 200th Anniversary Events to be Held

Contact(s): Kimberly Popiolek College of Arts and Letters office: (517) 432-1561

In recognition of the signing of the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw, as well as reflecting on the respective treaty obligations and acknowledging the more than 200 years of ongoing Indigenous presence, MSU’s American Indian and Indigenous Studies program, Indigenous Law and Policy Center and Native American Institute are hosting a symposium, titled “Edweying Naabing // Looking at the Past and Present.”

“The persistence of a vibrant, urban Anishinaabe community with dozens of speakers of the Anishinaabemowin language in Nkwejong // Lansing area reflect themes of Indigenous survival in urban spaces,” said symposium organizers. “We honor this presence as well as the many thriving communities throughout the Great Lakes region.

The symposium focuses on Indigenous histories, presence and futures on Anishinaabewaki and across Turtle Island. In doing so, we look at the past and present to imagine the future, promoting cultural education within the university community and beyond.”   

Michigan State University’s 5,200-acre campus is located on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg – the Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi peoples. This land was ceded as part of the Treaty of Saginaw, which was signed on September 24, 1819, on the bank of the Saginaw River.  

“Edweying Naabing // Looking at the Past and Present” is a two-day symposium that will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20 at the the MSU College of Law and from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 21. The symposium is part of a series of programming designed to raise awareness about the history of the land on which MSU resides and how the past shapes our present and future.

It will include about 30 speakers and panelists who will look at the past and the present to imagine the future and promote cultural education within the university community and beyond, as well as address how MSU, and universities in general, can work equitably with Anishinaabe according to the interests and needs of Indigenous communities.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, there also will be a dinner of contemporary Anishininaabe food, followed by performances from Crazy Spirit (drum group), Ruby John and George Trudeau (Native fiddle music) and The Aadizookaan (Native hip-hop) at 7 p.m. The Friday evening activities will take place at People’s Park, located between Wells Hall and the Red Cedar River.

A Native Family Day also is being planned for Saturday, Sept. 21, at the MSU College of Law and Broad Museum Art Lab. This is a recruitment event for Anishinaabeg and other Indigenous youth and their families to learn about MSU, to tour the campus, and to meet and talk to Native faculty, staff and students. It will include a panel of current Native MSU students who will speak about their experiences.

For more information on these events or to register, see the Treaty of Saginaw Commemoration web page on the American Indian and Indigenous Studies website.