Smoke Signals Evan Adams to Give Institute of American Indian Arts’ Commencement Address

Dr. Evan Adams

Dr. Evan Adams

SANTA FE — Dr. Evan Adams, co-star of “Smoke Signals” and health officer in Canada, has been selected to give the Institute of American Indian Arts’ (IAIA) 2014 commencement address at 11 a.m. on May 16.

Adams, of the Sliammon First Nation (Powell River, British Columbia), completed his medical degree at the University of Calgary and an Aboriginal Family Practice residency as chief resident at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. He has also received a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. He is currently the deputy provincial health officer in British Columbia’s Ministry of Health.

Adams also has had numerous television and film performances, which include a starring role in the Emmy-winning TV-movie “Lost in the Barrens” and, most memorably, as Thomas Builds-The-Fire in the Miramax feature “Smoke Signals,” which won him many awards, including an Independent Spirit Award for performance in 1999.

The Institute will also bestow on honorary doctorate to curator and educator Dave Warren, Ph.D. For 20 years, Warren (Santa Clara Pueblo) held various positions at IAIA, including curriculum and instruction director, Cultural Research and Resource Development Center director, and acting president. Warren’s work at IAIA’s Resource Development Center facilitated study and training for American Indians at major research institutions in the United States and Latin America.

During the Clinton Administration, Warren was the first American Indian to be appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, a national advisory body on cultural and educational policy. He was also the Special Assistant for Applied Community Research, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Public Service, Smithsonian Institution. In 1989, he was the founding deputy director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Dave Warrem, Ph.D.

Dave Warrem, Ph.D.

Warren was on the history faculties at Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska, and held the Hulbert Center Endowed Chair in Southwest Studies at Colorado College, the first Native American appointed to that position. He has served as a member of the National Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council of the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Park System Advisory Committee. In 1994, he received an award from the New Mexico Commission on Indian Affairs for “lifetime commitment to the preservation and perpetuation of American Indian languages and cultures,” and named a Santa Fe Living Treasure in 2013.

In addition to these distinguished guests, the Institute will also honor five valedictorians, RoseMarie Cutropia, Madge Duus, Alice Hergenrader, Arlene Kinart and Sasha LaPointe. LaPointe (Nooksack), who will graduate with a B.F.A. in Creative Writing, will address the class of 2014.

The public is welcome to attend the 2014 commencement. Offering degrees in Studio Arts, Creative Writing, Cinematic Arts and Technology, Indigenous Liberal Studies, and Museum Studies, IAIA is the only college in the nation dedicated to the study of contemporary Native arts. It is the only college in New Mexico with National Association of Schools of Art and Design accreditation. The school serves 450 Native and non-Native American college students from across the globe, and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges.

For more information about IAIA , please visit  The school will stream the commencement ceremony online May 16 starting at 10:30 a.m. Please check for web streaming information.


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