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Oklahoma State University

Legal Scholar to speak at OSU on violence against Native women

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sarah Deer, legal scholar and recent recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship “Genius Grant,” will address the dark side of indigenous American culture on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. in the School of Architecture’s Jack and Carol Corgan Auditorium (room 170). 

The lecture, “Sovereignty of the Soul: Sexual Violence and Native Women,” explores how Native American women living on reservations today continue to be the victims of one of the highest per capita rates of violent crime. 

Deer’s visit was planned to coincide with National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and “From the Belly of Being: Art By and About Native Creation,” a current exhibition at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art.

A citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, Deer has applied her extensive knowledge of tribal and federal law to develop policies and legislation that enable tribal nations to protect Native women from domestic and sexual violence, a longtime and pervasive problem.

In her recent book “The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America,” Deer wrote “As Native women, we are the most raped people in the nation by far . . . over half of Native women have experience some form of sexual violence.”

She is recommending the issue be addressed by building tribal infrastructure and revitalizing Native Americans’ criminal justice systems as a foundation for contemporary laws and policies.

Deer is a professor and co-director of the Indian Law Clinic at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. Minn. Previously she served as a victim advocacy legal specialist and staff attorney at the Tribal Law and Policy Institute. She received her B.A. and J.D. from the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

“From the Belly of Our Being” is supported in part by the following: an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jeanene and Ron Hulsey, Mary Ann and Ken Fergeson, the Chickasaw Nation, the Oklahoma Arts Council, OSU/A&M Board of Regents, and the OSU Museum of Art Advocates. In addition, the OSU Museum of Art would like to extend a thank you to Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, Minn., and the Institute of American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, NM.

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