“Respecting Sacred Land: Conversations on Water, Waste and Sustainability” will be the theme of the upcoming 10th Annual Native Symposium on November 4, 10 and 19.
According to Teresa Martinez, part of the purpose of the symposium is to celebrate Native Heritage Month, and to find a focus for what is a pressing concern in the Native community. Weber State University, Martinez explained, has a little less than half a percent of students who identify as Native.
Discussions during the symposium will focus both on water use and waste management as it relates to the Goshute tribe and their lands.
Tashina Barber explained that there has been discussion about the possible storage of high-level radioactive material, the kind produced by nuclear power plants, on Goshute reservation land.
Barber said that this idea had been met with mixed feelings, with some people for it and others against the idea.
“Most keynote speakers are coming to talk about issues that go on at the reservation lands,” Barber said.
Barber said that there is also discussion about the water on the reservation lands.
“A lot of the water they’re trying to protect is on protected, sacred land,” Barber said.
Martinez explained that the Goshute tribe has limited resources, so when they receive waste in their water it can create issues within the community.
Students will be directly involved with the symposium, introducing speakers and participating in roundtable discussions, Martinez said.
Martinez explained that the symposium tries to reach out to the local tribes, the schools that focus on the native community, and schools who have native clubs.
She encouraged students to become involved, and mentioned that the roundtable discussion on November 10 included a free lunch. Students only need to RSVP in order to participate.
“For the Goshute tribe, they’re going to talking about issues about water,” Barber explained.
For more information go to http://www.weber.edu/diversity/nativesymposium.html