Journalism professor announces week of American Indian recognition

April 07, 2009

University Park, Pa. -- John Sanchez, associate professor of journalism and news media ethics, announced the week of April 13 through April 19 as American Indian Programming and Events week in State College.

From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday, April 13 through Thursday, April 16, the Bittersweet Winds Exhibit will be in Room 238 of the HUB-Robeson Center, on Penn State's University Park campus. Richie Plass, an American Indian from the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, is curator of this American Indian collection of images and memorabilia of American Indians used in the media and has traveled this exhibit across the United States.

Sanchez said, "To go from an idea to an exhibit sought out from all across the United States, 'Bittersweet Winds' is 'the good, the bad and the ugly' on the use and identity of Native Americans in sports, media and marketing. A lot of hard work has been put into the Bittersweet Winds exhibit by many, many people and the responses have been both positive and negative. I make it clear to everyone that we do not make any attempt to sway people's opinions or give them a certain mind set."

He added, "Everything in the exhibit is real. From the photographs and artifacts to the letters and other documentation, what we offer is education. I travel with the exhibit and I am on-site for explanation and discussion on anything and everything that may come up. Believe me, I have been told to, 'Get over it' to, 'This is great!'" 

At 7 p.m.  on Tuesday, April 14, Sonya French Begay from the Navajo Nation will be interviewed for a WPSU TV Lobby Talk at the WPSU outreach building in Innovation Park. Begay will speak about the impact of uranium mining on the earth, the water, and on lives of the Dine (Navajo) people in New Mexico. The talk is free and open to the public. These two events are sponsored in part by The Office of Multicultural Affairs in the College of Communications, the American Indian Powwow at Penn State, and the American Indian Speaker Series at Penn State University.

In addition the American Experience PBS television series will begin a 5-part program on American Indians titled "We Shall Remain," described at the program's Web site: "At the heart of the project is a five-part television series that shows how Native peoples valiantly resisted expulsion from their lands and fought the extinction of their culture -- from the Wampanoags of New England in the 1600s who used their alliance with the English to weaken rival tribes, to the bold new leaders of the 1970s who harnessed the momentum of the civil rights movement to forge a pan-Indian identity. We Shall Remain represents an unprecedented collaboration between Native and non-Native filmmakers and involves Native advisors and scholars at all levels of the project."

For more information on the television series, visit
Ending the week is "The New Faces of an Ancient People" traditional American Indian powwow.  The powwow is in its sixth year and is sponsored by Penn State and the State College Area School District. This is a wonderful family event and admission is free. Doors open at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 18 and Sunday, April 19. The grand entry of dances is at 1 p.m. on Saturday and again on Sunday. The public is invited to attend. For more information, visit

  • For photos of the Bittersweet Winds Exhibit, click on image.

    IMAGE: Wendy Estep

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2010