Annual conference at UND to focus on indigenous, gender issues

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The Red River Women’s Studies Conference, titled “Gen Perspectives: Indigenous and Gender Conference,” is set for Friday, Oct. 4 at UND.

The 19th annual conference will feature plenary presentations by Flint Devine, a transgender Native American, and Ruth Buffalo, a Native American and member of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

It also will include breakout sessions, as well as panel and roundtable discussions on a variety of topics related to feminism and women’s studies, including the women’s suffrage movement in North Dakota, rural female teachers in North Dakota, Chinese immigrants and sexual violence.

At each session, the invited author will read and discuss his or her paper before group conversation, said Janet Rex, event organizer.

The conference, which begins with registration and breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 5:15 p.m., takes place in O’Kelly Hall and the College of Education.


The cost to attend the conference is $35, which covers meals and snacks. For more information, contact Rex at the UND Chester Fritz Library, (701) 777-4641 or email her at .

Registrations will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 4, Rex said.

People are welcome to “drop in” on a presentation, without registering, she said.

Devine, whose talk is titled “Two Spirit Identity and the Impacts of Colonialism on Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Indigenous People,” graduated from UND and is pursuing a master’s degree in gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “Two spirit” is a Native American reference to people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transsexual.

Devine will discuss the use of art “to heal from homophobia, transphobia and other forms of intergenerational trauma,” Rex said.

Buffalo, of Fargo, will address the topic, “Native American Democratic Woman in the North Dakota Legislature.”

The Red River Women’s Studies Conference is a collective of academicians, representing diverse disciplines, in colleges and universities in the Red River Valley who support women’s and gender studies initiatives across all disciplines.

Conference organizers invite speakers, based on submitted abstracts, to present at the annual conference which is dedicated to topics related to women’s, feminist and gender studies.

Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at or (701) 780-1107.
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