A UCLA sociology instructor visited Saddleback’s campus Wednesday to speak as part of the ongoing set of guest speakers invited by the Anthropology department.
Duane Champagne spoke to students about differences between American Indian cultures including their values, beliefs and politics in his lecture titled “The Indigenous peoples’ movement: Theory, policy and practice.”
The main point he hoped students walked away with was comprehension of what American Indians have undergone and their interaction with Western civilization. “Understanding the adversity of Indian people,” Champagne said. “How Indian people have broken on to the international scene. It develops their participation.”
Champagne spoke about the constant struggle between nation states and indigenous people. “That has to do with fairly recent historical struggles,” he said.
Estimations conclude that 270 million indigenous people are scattered throughout the world. Champagne can be considered an indigenous person himself, as he grew up on a reservation in N.D..
However, indigenous people don’t form a coherent ethnic group, according to Champagne. Each group of indigenous people has a different political structure and creation story among other differences. Therefore, identification lies within each separate tribe.
“Identity is often very local, very specific,” Champagne said.Students engaged in a question and answer period after the lecture.
“I’m taking a Native American studies course,” said Mark Hammerbeck, 21, Anthropology. “What he said expanded on what I’m learning. It helped me get a better understanding on issues that I only knew partially about.”
One Anthropology instructor, Mike Merrifield, would like to see a set block of time each week in which students could guarantee time to listen to guest speakers, instead of trying to fit it in between classes.
“It’s hard because students have to fit this in between classes,” Merrifield said. “The purpose is to let students hear other voices. It offers more opportunities to realize how broad acquiring an education is.”