The cultural expert for the Nez Perce Tribe will visit Pullman Tuesday, Oct. 13 to tell Washington State University freshmen about Native American oral traditions and how they shaped perspectives on traditional foods.
Josiah Blackeagle Pinkham’s address will be at 7 p.m. in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, and is open to the public.
“Josiah is responsible for the cultural research and documentation for the Nez Perce Tribe, and his works has taken him across the country and to Europe,” says Karen Weathermon, co-director of the Common Reading program at the WSU main campus, the sponsor of Pinkham’s lecture.
“’Food for Thought’ is the theme of this year’s Common Reading program, and Josiah’s knowledge of his tribe’s food traditions will give the students very unique insights into the lives of both ancient and modern Native American communities.”
Pinkham resides on the Nez Perce Reservation near the seat of the tribal government in Lapwai, Idaho, about 30 miles southeast of Pullman. He graduated with honors from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, where he majored in Native American Studies and Psychology. He previously worked in the National Park Service as a museum technician at Nez Perce National Historical Park, served an internship with the Nez Perce Tribe Environmental Restoration and Waste Management Department dealing with issues surrounding Hanford Nuclear Reservation Cleanup and also as a tribal traditions technician there, and interned with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian for a summer in New York in lower Manhattan.
As his tribe’s ethnographer, he says that much of his time is spent interacting with various agencies, interviewing elders, educating the public, and traveling to meetings.
The Common Reading program for 2009-10 spans fall and spring semesters, and exists so that students, their teachers, and the community can engage in academically centered critical thinking, communication, research, and learning around a body of shared information, as provided in a common text. More than 3,500 copies of “Omnivore’s Dilemma” were distributed to freshmen and other students for use in more than 90 courses this fall.
Washington State University’s Common Reading Program for the year has the entire campus and much of the state and nation talking about food and agriculture. What better way to highlight the cutting-edge science, research, teaching and outreach of Washington’s land-grant university and, at the same time, help to educate our students about what they eat and where it comes from?