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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Claudia Speaks at Brandeis University by CFT

This past Wednesday, the First- Year Leadership in Health and Medicine Leader Scholar Community hosted an event called “Eliminating Stereotypes: Native American Culture and Medicine Through a New Lens.” It examined Native American history, contributions and myths through a presentation by Claudia A. Fox Tree, a speaker and workshop presenter for the Massachusetts Center for Native American Awareness. The event was co-sponsored by the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life, the Brandeis Pluralism Alliance and Brandeis AHORA!

“We are an oral tradition culture,” she said, explaining why singing is so important to Native American culture. “We pass on things by talking about it, pass along the stories.”
She then began by clarifying exactly who Native Americans are as “indigenous people of the Western hemisphere before 1492.” She said that providing this definition was important because defining who the people are makes them more than simply stereotypes in people’s minds.


Fox Tree ended by presenting ways to help rectify these problems, primarily by becoming an ally and standing up against pejorative representations of Native Americans.

Organizer Irene Wong ’17, a member of the Leadership in Health and Medicine Leader Scholar Community, said that the community chose to bring Fox Tree to campus because she said that there is such a low representation of Native Americans among the student body. “We want people to be more aware of the culture and… many stereotypes that we don’t normally think of,” Wong said in an interview with the Justice.