U to offer series on Utah tribes

By Rosemary Campbell, Staff Writer

When KUED announced in 2006 that PBS was planning a five-part television series about American Indian history called “We Shall Remain: a Native History of America and Utah,” Forrest Cuch protested the fact that the Great Basin tribes would not be included.

Cuch, executive director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, and others requested support from the Utah Legislature, which granted them an appropriation in 2007 to begin work documenting each of the five Utah tribes.

Cuch thinks the television segments are important in making people aware of Utah’s tribal history.

“We want them to know of our presence,” Cuch said. “And we have a very long and enduring history.”

Along with KUED’s five-part series, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the U is offering two six-week classes beginning at the end of March.

One class will focus on the Battle of Little Bighorn, which, according to the press release, will be taught by Ephraim Dickson, curator of the Fort Douglas Museum.

Bernadette Brown, curator of African, Oceanic and New World art at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, said she will be teaching the other class, which will be an “exploration of American Indian culture and life” through a study of the museum’s collection of American Indian art.

Brandon Garcia, spokesman for the U’s Office of Continuing Education, said the classes, along with a tour of the museum’s “Splendid Heritage” art exhibit to be led by Brown on April 23, are a way for the community to learn more.

To kickoff the series, there was a sneak preview on Monday where Cuch and Mary Dickson, host of KUED’s “Contact,” discussed issues many Utah tribes face.

“It will be a chance for the community to come together to see how local tribes are affected by colonization,” Garcia said.

The Osher Institute is one of 20 community partners involved in this project, Garcia said.

Cuch thinks this information is crucial to have at a local level.

“It is important for our state now to recognize the importance of the indigenous people to the state,” he said. “We have to stop pretending like they don’t exist.”

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