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American Indian Elder in Residence to Speak March 16

March 8, 2011
University Communications

When Ada Deer was growing up on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Wisconsin, she internalized her mother’s dictum not just to take up space on this Earth, but to make a difference. She went on to do so in a number of roles, including many firsts. In 1993, she became the first American Indian woman to be appointed Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior.

On March 16, she will give a free public talk, “Conversation on American Indian Tribal Governance with Ada Deer,” at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The program will be at 6 p.m. in the George Watts Hill Alumni Center at 106 Stadium Drive. The Triangle Native American Society will host a reception after the lecture.

Clara Sue Kidwell, director of UNC’s American Indian Center, described Deer as “a tireless advocate for American Indian rights and a key person in changing federal Indian policy in the 1970s.”

From March 14-19, Deer with be the 4th elder in residence at the center. She also will fill that role for a powwow at UNC on March 19.

Deer was the first American Indian to earn a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work and to win a political primary for federal office. She was the first woman to chair the Menominee Tribe and was a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. In 2004, she received the Social Work Pioneer Award from the National Association of Social Workers.

Campus units may call (919) 843-4189 or e-mail to schedule a meeting with Deer.

For more information, visit or call (919) 843-4189.

American Indian Center contact: Brandi Brooks, (919) 843-4189,



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