Taté Walker - Eccles Visiting Scholar

Taté Walker

November 05, 2020
The Great Hall

Reflection | Podcast | VideoPhotos

Eccles Visiting Scholar George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation
SUU and A.P.E.X. Events is most grateful for the support from The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation which made this event possible.


Taté Walker is a Lakota citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota who “writes, rights and riots!” They are a banner-waving Two Spirit feminist, Indigenous rights activist, and a published and award-winning storyteller for outlets like Everyday Feminism, Feminist Humanist Alliance, Native Peoples magazine, and Indian Country Today. Taté uses their 15 years of experience working for daily newspapers, social justice organizations, and tribal education systems to organize students and professionals around issues of critical cultural competency, anti-racism/anti-bias, and inclusive community building.

Their new book Thunder Thighs & Trickster Vibes will be released soon!


Reflection

 

In celebration of Native American Heritage Week, A.P.E.X. Events was happy to welcome author and activist Taté Walker to Southern Utah University on November 5th, 2020. A Miniconjou Lakota and citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe of South Dakota, Walker is a Lakota storyteller, feminist activist, blogger, photographer, and social services professional who promotes cultural competency and inclusion for professionals in the workplace. They are a banner-waving Two Spirit feminist, Indigenous rights activist, and a published and award-winning storyteller for outlets like Everyday Feminism, Feminist Humanist Alliance, Native Peoples magazine, and Indian Country Today. Taté has also been published in the book “Fierce: Essays By and About Dauntless Women” and has their first book, “Thunder Thighs and Trickster Vibes,” coming out in 2021. Taté was introduced to the stage by SUU’s Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Donielle Savoie.

Taté began with an introduction and land acknowledgement in Lakota, as it is a traditional gesture to do within the Lakota tribe. They then gave a genuine and respectful land acknowledgement within the community while also displaying their unique sense of humor. Taté’s presentation was about the meaning of “trickster” in Native culture and use in Native history and as well as encouraging recognition and inclusion of Native Americans in society and demystifying myths about Native culture in general. Taté describes tricksters as “lesson givers...they’re the ones who royally effed up,” and mentions examples of tricksters affiliated with different tribes such as Coyote, Raven, and Jistu, the Trickster Rabbit, but they spoke mainly on Iktomi, which means “spider” in Lakota. Taté went on to talk about the story of Iktomi and how they relate to being a trickster, saying “Tricksters destroy those false binaries. They blow away the smoke and they crack the mirrors, they control the status quo and dance out of the reach of wolves and expectations.”

Taté also talked about their new book coming out next year, “Thunder Thighs and Trickster Vibes: Storied Advice From Your Fat, Two Spirit Auntie” as well as commenting on the patriarchal society within Native society and how they found their identity through their Lakota heritage, despite not having grown up within the tribe. Taté spoke to the audience about creating a more inclusive environment for Native American community, talking on how a lack of visibility affects Native American students negatively along with providing insights on how educators can better represent the varying tribes a Native American student can come from and creating an inclusive environment through creating a genuine land acknowledge of the land groups of people gather on for an event and looking at Native American representation at the university and how to increase that and curriculum representation.

- By Emily Sexton


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