(6) North America Subjects

How Chocolate Twice Conquered the American Continent: A Deliciously Historical Perspective

by Jose Francisco Garcia

The tale begins with 2000 year old murals depicting the uses for chocolate and continues to the present time witnessing the allure and power chocolate continues to have on human society.  Garcia shares the history of cacao and discusses its value as a worldwide commodity.

The African Presence in Spanish America

by Jose Francisco Garcia

Learn how the migration of millions of Africans into the Americas over a period of time stretching from the 16th century to 1862 has influenced the peoples, history and culture of Spanish America.

American History Told Through Mexican American Eyes

by Jose Francisco Garcia

The story of how historical events tie  Americans in general to the Spanish experience in the Americas.….from Cortez to Dia de los Muertos, the co-mingling of cultures contributes to our national heritage.   A quick study to help understand the relevance of Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day, Hispanic Heritage Month, Dia de los Muertos, Dia de los Ninos and other commemorations crossing over to American mainstream culture.

Didgeridoo and Dulcimer, Too

by Phyllis Dunne by Robert Dunne

The Dunnes present the unique sounds of the Appalachian Mountain dulcimer and the Australian Aboriginal didgeridoo. The program invites audience participation as the Dunnes describe the representative cultures. The dulcimer and the didgeridoo are known for their characteristic mesmerizing drones. Phyllis focuses on the history behind American folk songs, while Bob shares the legacy of Australian Aboriginal folk tales and traditions.

The Origins of American Environmentalism

by Fred Nielsen

The intellectual roots of American environmentalism are found in the works of three 19th-century New Englanders—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and George Perkins Marsh. Emerson and Thoreau laid the groundwork for an ethic to protect the environment with their aesthetic and spiritual appreciation of nature. Marsh was the first modern ecologist. Nielsen describes the contributions of each in developing an appreciation for the natural world and the human relationship to it.

The Universal Sacred Hoop

by Nancy Gillis

Presentation explaining and exploring the concept of the sacred hoop image from a variety of tribal traditions, including the interpretation given to John G. Neihardt by the Oglala Lakota Holy Man Black Elk. Emphasis on the cultural and spiritual context. Approx. 45 min.

Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith

by Maisha Godare

An overview of American Muslim life and culture illustrating what it means to be Muslim in America. This interactive, informal talk separates facts from fiction with easy to understand coverage of:

  • Beliefs, practices and values
  • Muslim population data
  • Holidays & celebrations
  •  Islams connection with other faiths

Understanding American Indian Tribal Governments

by Wynema Morris

Morris asks what it means to be an enrolled tribal member, which leads to the issues of tribal jurisdiction, tribal sovereignty, Las Vegas-style gaming and relationships with the U.S. government. Morris explains the role and function of tribal governments and how the interaction between Indian tribes and early Europeans during the Age of Discovery forged legal and political ties that continue to have an impact today.

American Indian Values for the 21st Century

by Wynema Morris

This presentation provides an in-depth analysis of the world view of American Indian people, along with a comparison of both the American Indian values system and that of the Euro-American.  This presentation includes the values of spirituality and religion, time, nature, sharing and acquisition, work, cooperation and competition, teaching and learning, acceptance of change, religion, aging, power and recognition and law.

Songs, Dances and Games of the Lakota

by Jerome Kills Small

Kills Small describes the history and origin of Native American songs and dances. A lecturer and storyteller who makes hand drums and pow-wow-size wood drums, Kills Small also is a singer of Lakota songs who has traveled extensively as a member of the Oyate Singers of Vermillion, S.D.

Harvesting Foods and Medicines in the Dakota Tradition

by Jerome Kills Small

In this presentation, Kills Small describes the medicinal foods and plants that grow in the Missouri River valley, on the Great Plains and on up to the Rocky Mountains. He talks about the universal uses, legends and history of the plants in Native American life.

Our Plains Indian Heritage

by Phyllis R. Stone

Stone, a descendant of Chief Iron Shell, an elder of the Rosebud Sioux tribe and a Sun Dancer, explains the uses and traditions of handmade items she brings for this presentation — items from both past and present American Indian cultures. Dressed in a traditional Sioux woman’s dress, she speaks about the life of the Rosebud Sioux as she shares artifacts. She describes life on the reservation and how her family combines their Indian heritage with other interests. Also included in the talk are artifacts and legends of the Mountain Man and the relationship of that culture to the Indians of the Plains.

Lifestyles of Lakota Women

by Phyllis R. Stone

As a descendant of Chief Iron Shell, a peace chief of the Rosebud Sioux, Stone shares her expertise on the lifestyle of a Lakota woman from birth to death. She describes changes that have come about in modern times, contrasting the contemporary lifestyles of Lakota women with past traditions. The degree to which Lakota women lead lives separately and distinctly from men in their tribe is discussed, and variations of practices that can be found among women in the tribe are described. Stone’s intimate knowledge of her Rosebud Sioux people and their ceremonies, her native attire and artifacts make this a rich and unique experience for young people

The Real Pirates of the Caribbean

by John Simmons

Simmons gives an account of the reality of pirate life, law, and terror tactics; explains pirate terminology; and tells of treasure and a few famous pirates including Francis Drake, John Hawkins, Henry Morgan, and some notorious female pirates.

A Musical Journey Across America: Songs That Helped Shape a Nation

by Chris Sayre

From the engaging sea shanties of the Eastern Seaboard to the haunting songs of the Appalachian Mountains, from the blues of Mississippi to the pioneer songs of the American West, Chris Sayre brings to life the rich and varied music of the continental United States. Performing on guitar, mandolin, banjo, slide guitar, concertina, melodeon, lap dulcimer and musical saw, Chris captivates his audiences and leaves them with a deeper understanding of how we got to where we are today.

A Day in the Life of a Victorian Lady

by Patricia Pixley

Using authentic artifacts and costume, a day in the life of a Victorian lady unfolds, from breakfast through afternoon tea. By examining the social customs, dress, etiquette and decorative furnishings of the 1870s and ’80s, audiences learn about the social conventions surrounding the organization of the household, the maintenance of social status and the role of etiquette in determining place in the Victorian-era community.

Storytelling and the Hispanic Oral Tradition

by Linda Garcia-Perez

An experienced storyteller, Garcia-Perez draws on her experiences as a young girl in Omaha’s Mexican-American barrio. Her stories convey a universal message of humor, wonder and tradition. The presentation can be tailored to focus on one of the following topics:

  • “Traditional Hispanic Stories for Families and Children” – using stories to bring to life the myths, fantasies and tales of Latin cultures
  • “Keeping the Oral Tradition Alive: Abuelita (Grandmother) Stories I Heard When I Was a Girl” – examples of stories based on rights of passage
  • ” Traditional Mexican, Central and South American Motifs as Vehicles for Folk Tales” – depicting the life and times of Hispanic People

America in the Eyes of an Islamic Fundamentalist

by John Calvert

Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966), the prominent ideologue of Islamic fundamentalism, studied in the United States from 1948 to 1950. This presentation traces Qutb’s journey across America, focusing on his six-month stay at Greeley’s Colorado State College of Education (now the University of Northern Colorado). Letters and articles that Qtub wrote are examined as sources for his observations on American society, allowing audiences to enter the worldview of Islamic fundamentalism and understand how others view Americans. Slides and materials, collected by Calvert in Cairo and Greeley, are featured.

Traditional Folk Music

by Bill Behmer by Gwen Meister

This presentation is a brief overview of Anglo-American folk music, including 500-year-old British Isles ballads and American folk songs over the centuries. Gwen Meister and Bill Behmer describe the “folk process” as they accompany themselves on mountain dulcimer, fiddle, autoharp and other traditional instruments.