American Indian historian and Dakota language instructor Caƞtemaza (Neil McKay) will lecture on “The Spirit and Culture of a People: Reviving the Dakota Language” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 11, in the Rogge-Leyden Room (Room 364-365) of the Anderson Student Center.

The program, free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning and the Justice and Peace Studies Department at St. Thomas, in collaboration with the St. Paul Interfaith Network as a part of its monthly midday interfaith dialogue series.

A buffet lunch will be served free of charge; doors will open at 11:30 a.m. Caƞtemaza will speak and take questions for roughly the first hour. After a short break, participants are invited to stay for a second hour to discuss the presentation in small groups. Philosophical and spiritual perspectives on the language also will be discussed.

The Dakota language in Minnesota has fewer than 10 first-language speakers left. Caƞtemaza will discuss how U.S. American Indian policy, the church and Euro-American citizens have affected the Dakota language as well as current Dakota language revitalization efforts.

Caƞtemaza (Neil McKay)

A member of the Dakota Spirit Lake Nation, Caƞtemaza teaches Dakota language and American Indian history at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His teaching, writing and research interests are in the area of preservation and restoration of the Dakota language and culture. Currently he is finishing a master’s degree in second languages and cultures, and also consults and advises on indigenous language education and issues.

This is the second of three related programs on American Indian culture and history at St. Thomas this fall. Dakota scholar Dr. Chris Mato Nunpa spoke Sept. 13. A screening of the film, “Dakota 38,” followed by a discussion led by American Indian spiritual leader Jim Miller and his spouse, Alberta Iron Cloud, will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 17, in the Great Room (Room 100) of McNeely Hall, located on the university’s St. Paul campus at Cleveland and Summit avenues.

The Jay Phillips Center is a joint enterprise of the University of St. Thomas and St. John’s University in Collegeville.  More information can be found at the center’s website