Native Values in the Spotlight

Three guest speakers
Three guest speakers
Guest speakers at Stetson’s 2016 Values Day showcase today: Pedro Zepeda, Nicolasa Geronimo and Patricio Balona.

Native American guest speakers will be the featured attraction at the 2016 Values Day showcase event at Stetson University.

The event, called “Native Values: Ancient Principles in a Global Context,” marks the first Stetson Values Day to focus on Native American culture. It will be held in the Stetson Room, upstairs in the Carlton Union building (CUB) on the DeLand, Fla., campus, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The public is invited to attend. Cultural credit will be provided to students.

The event promises to offer unique insight, according to Robert Sitler, Ph.D., professor of world languages and cultures and director of Latin American Studies program.

“Native America consists of many hundreds of unique and continuously evolving cultures that all developed totally independently from the rest of humanity for at least 13,000 years,” says Sitler. “As a result, the native peoples of our hemisphere have created cultures that are in many ways radically different from modern mainstream cultures in the United States. The rich accumulation of millennial indigenous knowledge can open our eyes to rethink and deepen our own values and reassess the significance of our lives.”

Three indigenous Native Americans are scheduled to speak, providing their perspectives about living native values in a rapidly changing world. In addition, two Stetson faculty panelists, Pamela Cappas-Toro, Ph.D., assistant professor of world languages and cultures, and Luis Paredes, Ph.D., director of diversity and inclusion, will discuss connections with the native world and the importance of intercultural communication.

Cappas-Toro and Paredes “epitomize the large group of new Stetson professors who are both grounded in a profound sense of human decency and compassion,” comments Sitler.

“They share native ancestry as well as an extraordinary understanding of intercultural issues. They will keep our dialogue informative and illuminating,” he says.

Sitler encourages all to attend the event, particularly students.

“Our students are still young enough that they can readily appreciate new approaches to life and our guests offer an especially rich immersion in their own cultural traditions. It can be a perfect match,” he concludes. “When I was my students’ age, native values favorably reoriented my life in fundamental ways.”

View the full 2016 Values Day schedule here.

By Nicole Melchionda