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Courtesy of Dr. Vigil of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Feminist. Revolutionary. Historian.


On October 8th and 9th, The Department of Women’s and Gender Studies will host a two-day event organized around the work of Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a long-time feminist and historian of indigenous peoples.  A native of rural Oklahoma, Dr. Dunbar-Ortiz holds a PhD in History from the University of California, Los Angeles. She was co-founder of the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, East Bay, where she taught Native American Studies. Among her many publications are The Great Sioux Nation: An Oral History of the Sioux Nation and its Struggle for Sovereignty, which will be republished by the University of Nebraska Press in 2013.  She is currently writing a history of the United States from the perspective of Indigenous Peoples.

Dr. Dunbar-Ortiz has played an important role in the development of indigenous and feminist organizations, nationally and globally. From 1997 to 2005, she served as a non-governmental representative in United Nations sessions devoted to the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the Decade for the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others. She was the founding director of the Indigenous World Association and the Interim Director of the Women’s Studies Program at California State University – Hayward (now Cal State East Bay) from 1995 to 1997.

Dunbar-Ortiz is equally well-known and respected for the several memoirs she has published that reflect the movements and activities in which she has participated. These books include Red Dirt:  Growing Up Okie (London and New York: Verso, 1997; republished by University of Oklahoma Press, 2005); Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960 – 1975 (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2002) and Blood on the Border: Memoir of the Contra War (Cambridge: South End Press, 2005).

The events are co-sponsored by: American Indian Center, American Indian Studies, Carolina Indian Circle, Carolina Women’s Center, Center for Global Initiatives, Curriculum in Global Studies, Department of American Studies, Department of Anthropology, Department of History, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, First Nations Graduate Circle, Feminist Students United!, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Institute for the Study of the Americas, Social and Economic Justice Minor, The Sonja Haynes Stone Center, and The Southern Oral History Program and UNC Latina/o Studies Program.

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

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