American Indian Scholar Vine Deloria, Jr.
CHICAGO – Thursday evening, the Annual American Indian & Alaska Symposium at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC) was renamed in honor of the late Vine Deloria, Jr.
Deloria is iconic among contemporary American Indians because of his scholarly writings, quick wit and intellect.
He gained national attention with the release of his book, “Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto,” published in 1969. He was named by Time magazine as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century.
Deloria was a teacher, historian, activist and accomplished author. He was an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux. At the age of 72, he died on November 13, 2005.
The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago named the symposium for Deloria because he graduated from Augustana Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois, a predecessor school of the institution.
Special guests Susan Power, Elder (Standing Rock Sioux); Father Peter J. Powell, St. Augustine Center for American Indians; and Kirke Kickingbird (Kiowa) were a part of the evening renaming ceremony that took place in the Refectory at the LSTC.
“Vine Deloria, Jr., was a tremendous witness and testimony to the American Indian/Alaska Native understanding of humanity. His affirmation of Grandfather/Great Spirit as the creator of all life was also an affirmation of the first article of the Christian creed,” said the Rev. Dr. Albert “Pete” Pero Jr.
After graduating from Augustana Seminary in 1963, Deloria served as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians. He earned a law degree from the University of Colorado in 1970 and began teaching at Western Washington State College in Bellingham, Washington. He became professor of political science at the University of Arizona in 1978, where he also established the first master’s degree program of American Indian Studies in the United States. He was on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder, from 1990 – 2000, and then returned to the University of Arizona to teach at the College of Law.
“Vine’s life journey was a struggle against the politics of assimilation and a commitment to the liberation of all from the mentality and practice of colonialism,” said the Rev. Dr. Cheryl Stewart Pero, director of the Albert “Pete” Pero Jr. Multicultural Center at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the sponsor of the symposium.