Event to look at program that transformed American Indian communities

April 10, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- “Transformation from Violence, Disease and Abuse to Self-Determination and Sovereignty in American Indian Communities” will be presented by Susan Chavez Cameron and Elayne Silversmith from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library at Penn State. The event will be followed by a reception in the Mann Assembly Room, 103 Paterno Library. The program will also be broadcast online.

The 1975 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (P.L. 93-638) gave Indian tribes the authority to contract with the Federal government to operate programs serving their tribal members and other eligible persons. This act affected the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior and the Indian Health Service in the Department of Health and Human Development. In 1988 and in 1994, amendments to P.L. 93-638 were seriously criticized for the lack of tribal participation. Active tribal participation using the Negotiated Rulemaking Act resulted in the current rule that became effective on Aug. 23, 1996. In their presentation, Elayne Silversmith and Susan Chavez Cameron will discuss the paths currently being taken by American Indian nations to achieve self-determination and sovereignty.

Cameron works with Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. She also serves as adjunct faculty with Argosy University in Washington, D.C., teaching doctoral courses on multicultural counseling, advanced assessment and research. She has more than 25 years of experience in academe and has worked in Indian Country for more than 30 years as a licensed mental health counselor, registered nurse, hospital administrator and program evaluator. While with the Indian Health Service, she was recognized by the U.S. Surgeon General for her work on Quality New Mexico, a state-level initiative based on the Baldrige National Quality Program Criteria for Performance Excellence. 

Cameron has a doctorate from Purdue University in counselor education with specialization in multicultural counseling, an master of science degree from California State University, Fresno, in marriage, family and child counseling with specialization in Native American mental health, and a bachelor of science in nursing. 

Silversmith is the librarian for the Vine Deloria, Jr. Library at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) within the Smithsonian Institution. Prior to working at the NMAI, she was a tenured librarian at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., where she managed the Robert W. Delaney Research Library at the Center of Southwest Studies. At Fort Lewis, she served two-terms as chair of the Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) Advisory Board and helped guide the NAIS to become an independent degree program. Silversmith has been an academic and special librarian for more than 18 years with experience in reference, collection development, outreach, programs, instruction and access services, and she has served American Indian tribal libraries throughout those years. She is a  past president of the American Indian Library Association. In 2011, she was a Native American Fellow at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem, Mass., where she developed and taught four docent workshops for the exhibition, “Shapeshifting: Transformation of Native American Art.” Born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock, N.M., she currently lives in Alexandria, Va.

The program is co-sponsored by the Interinstitutional Consortium for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK), the American Indian Leadership Program and the University Libraries. If you need special accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Raymond Chappetta at rmc5308@psu.edu or 215-806-2790. For more information, visit ICIK.

  • Susan Cameron

    Susan Chavez Cameron, education specialist

    IMAGE: provided
  • Elayne Silversmith

    Elayne Silversmith, librarian, Vine Deloria Jr. Library

    IMAGE: provided
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Last Updated January 09, 2015