offer testimony of native people as vanishing americans or someone at the end of the trail. please help me welcome susan superna and waller echo hawk. [applause] culture and the larger american culture. if you would, tell us a little bit about those themes. >> all right. thank you. in growing up, i started out in a -- in a very rural area of north of hominy, oklahoma, and
we lived there. and there is -- and for the time this is taking place in the '50s and '60s so there's a very different mindset back then. and there was a lot of racism and -- that had to be dealt with not just by me but by my parents and especially since my father was indian and my mother was not. even they had a lot of racism aimed at them for being an integrated marriage at that time, which was oh, my gosh. the story is really about finding that strength within yourself. when times get hard, and being able to -- to push through those hardships, able to make it through the night is what i like to think of it as and then in the morning when the sun comes up and you can give thanks, then you sometimes have to get help and there's nothing wrong with asking for help and that's the other thing i think that's really important about the book
is that when times get very hard for me, you know, whether it was when i was 7 or 8 or when i was -- had to leave home as a junior in high school, you have to go somewhere and get help. and i went to the church. and the church offered me, you know, a place to stay and to recover from the domestic violence that i was having there in my high school years. but back in -- before then, even then, i had my own problems with self-esteem and people -- i was the youngest of four girls so i always felt like everybody was picking on me and calling me names and making me cry and doing all those mean things that your older brothers and sisters do to you. and i won't talk about the things i did back to them because, of course, you know, they'll tell you that part of the story. but it is about getting in touch with your inner self and your spirit. and finding something that you can hold on to.
and for me as a child, we did have a lot of church and some religious activities but it was also -- i had some dreams in which i had a spirit guide that came and helped me. and although i had seen her once before, the big time i saw her when i had the horseback riding accident and i broke my back and i was unconscious for a while and i was laid up for a little bit but as a kid fortunately, i healed and i'm moving around great. part of overcoming that is not believing the doctors when they said you should be glad you can walk. you're lucky you're not dead. well, yeah, sure but i wanted to do more and we kept going finally i had to go to a chiropractor to find somebody that said, okay, maybe exercise is okay. maybe you can try jogging, yeah, maybe you can do stuff to strengthen your back. boy, i latched onto that and i
was into cheerleading and dancing and i felt great and i got my body back, just as you start to feel good life has a opportunity to slap you back down. i had some fun times, you know, cheerleading, did the tractor queen thing. i'm sure there's not a lot of people out there that would admit they were tractor queen if they ever were. i would have rather driven the tractor -- tractor queen, i'm the queen of the tractor nowadays they would probably let you. but this is tulsa state fair and i just held the little trophy and got the kiss the guy that won the tractor pull, talk about disappointment. [laughter] >> but i got even later with them when i was miss oklahoma. but before i got there, i did end up going to -- well, first, i went and worked for carl albert and i would like to just take a minute and tell you how that happened because it's not the kind of thing that just -- you would ever plan for.
and it's one of those things where, you know, life may be good to you and give you something good back and then you go and you blow it. you know, stick your foot in your mouth or something and you say the wrong thing, oh, no and this is a good example of how you can stick your foot in your mouth. smile a lot and they forgive you and you still get through it all. but when i was the presidential scholar and that happened in 1969, they have a boy and girl from each state up to washington up to meet the president. well, this is nixon and say what you will he was president then and so we were all excited. yeah, i'm going to go see nixon. well, the vietnam war was going on, too, and nixon was held up in vietnam, in south vietnam. and so he was late coming back from our luncheon. and so everybody, thought, oh, next day, next day so they took us on some tours and at one of the big areas of -- they had a
press conference and bud wilkinson was there. well, ah, yeah, bud wilkinson. ou coach from the old days. he was president nixon's presidential aide at that time. and he had come up and he's super ms. supernaw raw related to john supernaw, he's my dad. i remember him when he went and tried out for the football but he didn't know it supernaw. well, have you seen the s.o.b. do you mean nixon? [laughter] >> and there was this silence. [laughter] >> and i was like, bud was like, he gets this very straight face, i meant the senate office building. [laughter] >> now they have more than two senate office building and they had a new s.o.b. and an old s.o.b. and i got to see them both. but anyway, after doing that,
you know, i'm kind of backing out and carl albert heard that and he's like, wait, wait, suzy, come back, come back. and i go, yeah, i want you to come work in my office this summer. and i'm like, well, why? he said, anybody that can call nixon an s.o.b. and get away with it has to work with my office and he was just becoming speaker of the house. and i did -- i was a registered democrat at the time but i became a registered democrat so i could work in his office and so that was the fun part. and i think i'd like to go ahead and just tell another couple -- another story here. and that was when i became miss oklahoma. and to get there, of course, i had to -- you have to enter -- be a preliminary pageant winner and i didn't know much about pageants yet. and i went to phillips university and i see some of the guys over there, the males, a
few of them sitting over there. they got gray hair. we're all so old. we remember bill cosby when he was young. [laughter] >> you know, and nell was a name taken from a bill cosby character i think patterned after joe namath after the shaving commercials and cutting themselves. these were a guy part of the young club. randy of the time we're going to spew on whatever we can and try to do something with the establishment. these guys, although they were an young club they were a club enough to have a representative in the pageant because it was a student activity and anyone could nominate people. and they called me up and nominated me and i go through some of the stories and stuff on that. the surprising part was that i won because i'd never been in a pageant before. i had lots of help from people all over. and -- but i did win. i fell down the steps, walking up the steps. of course, they had the big -- the guys that built the steps
are here so i better not say anything bad. they were built well. but they weren't built wide enough to hold a chair and a girl sitting in it and all the other people that suddenly run up on stage. anyway, we almost had an accident there. i did fall down but i fixed my crown and got back up. i thought that was the worst that would happen. nothing compared to what happened at miss oklahoma pageant. fortunately, i waited till after i was crowned before everything broke loose. and that was the whole other story that -- of just getting through the pageant was the whole other story. but afterwards i am crowned and i'm sitting -- sitting there and they're talking. i got my first press conference with the kiwanis club and we're going up to a five-star restaurant and fortunately the press wasn't there. so tony spencer who was the
pageant director at the time -- she was, you know, trying to pin in my crown. i had a flat head and the crown has never, ever fit and it was wobbling and they put this banner on me. this is your banner, take greatly care of this. you got to wear this the whole year. you don't want to spill anything. okay, i gotcha, gotcha. it had been raining. you know how the first week of june can be in oklahoma. it had been raining the whole time at the pageant. looking outside the water is all kind of cool enough out there. and the limo stops -- the limo at least, you know, stops and -- now i grew up on a farm i tell you what, i can run. so i open the door and here she goes, running out, just like line a barrel race. i took about three steps, banner dropped to my feet, i fell. i ripped my banner, fell flat on my face. get up, soaking wet, and i'm
going to make the last dive into the car and the guy has got the car door open and i jump into it. well, i'm not used to wearing a grown and the grown sticks up this much off of your head. so as i'm jumping into the car, i hit and it knocks me backwards again. and breaks my crown. so tony spencer is running around trying to pick up this little piece of some of my crown so we can have it fixed later. and so i get in and we're going -- we finally get me in the car and we go down to the press conference. going and looking like a drowned rat. and charlie welch is there and made to great everybody and suzy fell down and broke her crown and tony comes running after her and you're right. it's going to be a long year. charlie is like you're going to have to speak to all these
people. i'm just soaking wet. dripping wet and i'm trying to get it together it reminds me as my old day as bozo which is -- another one of those great nickname stories of trying to sing as part of the supernaw sisters and we were going to be this lennen sisters and i couldn't sing my part running off the stage crying and that imprinted on my mind because i was like 7 years old. michael jackson can do it and i can't even get out and sing. but anyway, so i'm going in and charlie says give them a typical indian greeting. we haven't had a miss oklahoma who was indian for a while. i stand up and i said, i said, charlie asked me to give you a typical indian greeting and i didn't know if he meant the kind of greeting that the indians gave the pilgrims at plymouth rock or the cheney gave to
custer at little bighorn. [laughter] >> and i'll stop there because that was my big step. on being able to stand in front of a group dripping wet, no makeup and what makeup was there was sliding down my face and pulling it doting. and having the electricity go out this morning at 2:00 it's nothing compared to what i've been through in the past. [laughter] >> as miss oklahoma, suddenly you're thrust into the spotlight not only as a representative of the state but as we all know a lot of times with native people, once we're put in the spotlight we're suddenly asked to represent all native people. how did you balance that? i mean, how did you become an advocate for native people but without, you know, taking on that representative of the whole? >> well, i think mainly because i probably never felt really normal. and so i never -- well, really, if you read the book and see how i grew up, it's hard to think of
myself being normal. so it's really -- i can't speak for other people because i'm not normal. so i only speak for myself. [laughter] >> but i did -- there were a lot of people -- there are people that say you sell out. and sellouts were really big back in the '60s you could be a sellout just by getting your degree from graduating high school, not even to mention college and the higher your degree was, the more you sold out and that was kind of the mentality back then. and there were people who were totally honored. all the tribes of oklahoma -- well, representatives of the tribes got together and they raised the money for the page in my miss america booklet and there were a lot of indians in oklahoma who were supportive of me. and there were a few people not indians, a protesting against pageants so it was a scandalous
time to do that but i didn't know any better so -- >> how did -- you mentioned that you, you know, drew upon your native culture to help you through these times to navigate that. would you chair -- care to tell us how the traditions of native culture strengthened you through these times? >> i think having the spirit guide was probably the most influential part of having that strength. we all pray and i've always been a pray-er but to know that there's somebody there watching you is just is a very empowering feeling and i think that really has more than just believing in myself knowing that there's some spirit or something out there that was kind of keeping an eye on me. that really -- that really freed me up to be more. kind of gave me more self-esteem. >> was there ever an aspect of
native culture that you felt held you back in some way? >> yes. and not so much with muskogee but the women cultures aren't as outspoken and not as strong. now there's a lot of american indian cultures where they have very strong women and i'm fortunate to be one of those. being a strong woman was not -- did not hold me back as much as it might have in other cultures. but what really grosses people out is i cry. i cannot keep a straight face. i'm sorry. this stoic is not here. i cry. well, you're not supposed to cry. [laughter] >> tell us a little bit about -- without giving me away anything you don't want to give away from the book but tell us a little bit about the process of earning
a name? it varies, of course, with each tribe and stuff. and it varied with me because i did not -- a lot of people, there was a naming ceremony where a child is presented to the sun and given a name after they're born or after a period of time after they were born and with me it did not happen. i really received my name in a dream and it was up to me to go out and earn that name, and i knew what i had to do to earn the name. and it then took me another eight or ten years to get around to doing it 'cause i was just a kid. and there were a lot of things i had to overcome to earn my name but earning to me was the -- the high point of it all. and i don't think i could have done it without being miss oklahoma because i really needed to perform publicly and the chances i had in high school my mind was thinking about earning my name. i was involved with growing up
and being a teenager so i really needed that extra chance to prove myself to myself. >> it just occurred to me as i asked the question some of our audience or some of the people who viewed the program may think my question was odd when i asked about earning your name. well, her name is susan supernaw. maybe if you wouldn't mind explaining a little bit about the difference. >> yes, my indian name is elia pona which means dancing feet and part of the reason it was really hard is because when i got the name it was in the dream which is a horseback riding accident and you wake up and you find out you're paralyzed and you've been given the name of dancing feet and i thought it was a cruel joke the spirits were playing on me. i did promise if i got my feet and my legs working again that i would earn my name because i thought maybe that's what it was
there is to keep pushing me. >> as you think about the experience the readers are going to have reading your book, what -- if you could narrow it down to one thing, what is the most important thing you would like readers to take away from your story? >> laughter, because in spite of all the bad times, you know, we really need to sit back and be able to laugh and feel good. and, yes, there are some really sad parts and those were really hard to write but i would feel great if somebody said, you know, i laughed. i had a good laugh at something in the book because there are lots of silly, stupid or whatever things that i did, naive i think is a good word. things that i did and lots of times i'm putting my foot in my mouth and opening it up just to switch feet.
>> speaking of the -- you know -- sometimes putting the foot in your mouth and i seem to be doing it at the moment, tell us a little bit about the inspiration for writing the book. what encouragement did you get to actually write the book? >> well, i do mention three -- well, a few important people in my life that have helped out and the one of the people i did mention was kenneth who had been my mentor, father figure for a very, very long time and when he was getting very ill, and he's the one that actually did the ceremony that gave me my name -- when we -- he was getting ready to die or when he was sick, i'm sorry i should put it that way in the late '80s and we knew his health was failing and he made me promise that i would write this story down, and i was always like well, i'll wait until someone asks. and he said well, i'm asking. i want you -- i want you to write it down. and it took me another 10 years after that to really get the stuff together and another 10 years to get it published. it's not a fast process but i think he was instrumental in it and plus the fact that both my parents had passed away. it seemed like everybody was
dying and i better hurry up and write this down before we forgot all these people's names and these happen. >> an earlier draft of the book won an award. the native writers circle of america's award for a first book, right? what was the change like from that first book to the book we have with us now? >> it's a whole lot shorter today's book is. [laughter] >> the one that won the award was more a collection of family stories and me in high school and doing things -- i mentioned a lot more names, but the editors really kind of left that on the floor to keep the story flowing so we edited out about 100 pages and really stuck with only the stories that really dealt with me getting my name and not all the other fun stuff there. >> it sounds like there's more
security forces -- stories. >> the second book i'm going to add more of those stories in. >> thank you, susan. i would like to bring walter in the story. we just heard susan talk about a personal story and, of course, we all expected it the writing was very personal for you but it deals with a much larger scope. what was your inspiration for coming to this book? >> well, i think, first of all, let me just say good morning to everyone. and thanks for inviting me to be a part of this program. well, i think in part, you know, susan's story is a smaller story of native america, you know, i think her personal struggles for fulfillment and, you know, be able to transcend, you know, her problems and become recognized as in the miss america pageant,
you know, is a personal story on her part and i think we've seen on a larger level the same thing, you know, throughout indian country and that is during this modern era of federal indian law from, you know, 19 -- the late 50s, you know, right into the present, you know, we've -- we've seen this tribal sovereignty movement, you know, where indian country at the beginning of the '50s was a -- probably at the low point for the american indians in american society. our land holdings were about 2%, less than 2% of our original land ownership here in the united states and our people living in abject poverty at the bottom of a segregated society that was bent on stamping out our traditions and our tribal
religions and ways of life. and terminating the political relationship between the indian nations and the government. just a whole ream of -- low point, if you will, in the nadir of native life here in our native nation. and since that point, excuse me, our nation has really witnessed a historic social movement, i think, that stirs the human heart in that we've seen the rise of our modern indian nations, you know, through this tribal sovereignty movement being able to transcend the social and legal and political problems, you know, that had sort of held our people down and trying to reclaim our pride and
our heritage and our legal rights, political rights, as indigenous peoples and to the point today where we can look around and see a great social movement that i think rivals the women's movement, the civil rights movement, the environmental movement in american history, you know, and i think one of the -- one of the reasons why we were able to do that was the law, american law. and what they call federal indian law provided the legal framework, you know, for this social movement that has resulted in the rise of indian nations but i wanted to study that body of law in my book because out of concern for the -- for that body of law because i think there's been a
very troubling retreat, you know, from those legal rights by the u.s. supreme court since 1985, you know, where indian nations have lost over 80% of their cases, you know, that come before the supreme court and some terms losing more than 88% of our cases which means indian -- well, that prison inmates actually fare better -- or receive better treatment by the supreme court than our indian nations. and so as a lifelong practitioner of federal indian law, that troubled me and it's also led a lot of our tribal leaders and concerned legal scholars, you know, to ask, you know, is federal indian law dead? you know, and so i wanted to write a book -- i was inspired as i always have been by notions of justice to try to write a
book, sort of a unique study of the law to try to understand, if i could, the forces at work that have -- that sort of explain the amazing prevalence of unjust cases relating to american indians that we see in american legal history and we have a lot of very unjust decisions that i think -- many of us take for granted today but they are cases that were decided by the courts during the course of manifest destiny when our nation was bent on colonizing the land, appropriating indian land and subrogating the tribes and tripping away our ways of life
and habitat to make way for the settlement of the nation, and that process was -- was upheld by the courts at every step of the way, you know, and it's created a body of law that upholds some very harsh outcomes for native people so i wanted to understand that, you know, because those cases resulted in a body of doctrines, legal doctrines, that make it easy today to make our native rights vulnerable in the current u.s. supreme court, you know, to look at doctrines based on race and colonialism that have been embedded in federal law, federal indian law to this very day. and a whole bunch of very manifestly unjust cases that unlike the black cases of slavery or racial discrimination affecting other races, those cases have been reversed.
and are no longer cited today as good law, you know, in our courts. but these indian cases remain the law of the land, you know, so i picked 10 of the worst cases from among a long list of candidates and carefully studied their historical context and looked at the briefs that were written, researched the characters the cases and try to understand, you know, how that is because i think as americans, we reasonably expect justice from our legal system, you know, and that's reasonable because our nation has intentionally designed a legal center to achieve justice, you know, that's listed in our canons of judicial ethics, you know, justice in our society and we have rules of evidence and civil procedure and criminal procedure, rules of evidence.
cultures, you know. contending for different ways of life across our great continent here, you know, and, they give us lessons in justice and injustice and i think the role of the courts i think in the winning of the west but there are teachings, you know, by peering into the dark side of the law and looking at some of these forces of colonialism and conquest and discovery up close, you know. i think we can see those parts of the law that need to be discarded and strengthened and more just society i against and a stride towards a more just society. these present i think large questions, you know, not only for our nation because the whole idea of conquest
and warring conquest, colonization are really as old as humanity itself, you know and they have always been with us as our human beinging, you know, have spread across the planet and, populations moving into new lands, looking for a better life, displacing other populations and what, what are and have been or should be the relationships between the conquerer and the conquered. i think we can look at the vikings or the babylonians, the romance, see this as a set of questions that confront us all and our american experience has i think yet to be written. we can look to the courts, you know, and see what the courts have said about it which is the approach i took, but the final chapter i don't think has been written
because i think we want to, we are a fair and a just people and i think that we can look at and see in the law, our law, affecting american indians and i identify those vestiges of injustice that are still embedded in that law and tried to root them out of the law. and so. my book is not nearly about injustice but it also points a pathway towards a more just culture as we want to stride toward a more just culture and in a post colonial world and root out these nefarious doctrines, you know, that affect our tribal people here in the u.s. and so that that our basic notions of liberty and, quality, fair treatment, you
know, can be achieved for all segments of the society including our native peoples. and so that is ultimately i think the end product of my book. i had one chapter in there that, provides a blueprint i think for reforming and strengthening federal indian law in the 21st century, so. >> you mentioned the parallels with african-american histories or the history of women. at least today, you know, our kids in the k-12 system and they at least have heard about the dred scott case, plessy versus ferguson. maybe in some parts of the country they heard about roe v. wade and other women's rights issues. what would be the main cases that you would like to see the kids become aware of in k-12 experience? what themes, for example? you mentioned nefarious
doctrines. with regard to african-americans it was separate but equal. what cases would you like our kids to grow up knowing what doctrines would you like them to be wary of? >> well i think the, of course the big case in the 20th century was brown v. board of education where the supreme court struck down the separate but equal clause and in the dred scott decision which had had in 1896 laid out the legal basis for racial discrimination and racial segregation in america. the separate but equal doctrine in which all walks of our american life was racially segregated, based on the notion that the legal fiction, that blacks are interior and that they're separate treatment by the law, you know, doesn't
really stamp a badge of inferiorty on them. that was discarded. that skeletal principle of our society upon which our entire economy was based, our housing, our public education, was discarded by the supreme court in 1955 by, in the brown case and it changed the face of america and it paved the way for the election of our, first black president, president obama. and we have similar kinds of cases that plague native america. the johnson v. macintosh springs to my mind. the fact that you can, on land title, for example, that the act of discovery operated to appropriate legal title to the land, to
the united states. and this was handed down by the supreme court in 1823 at a time most of the continent was owned and occupied by indian nations. the supreme court in a sweeping opinion appropriated the legal title to the land, you know, and said that, when european sailors saw the coastal shoreline of north america, that act of discovery operated to transfer legal title and, left the indian tribes as mere tenants of the government who could occupy the land only at the pleasure of the government and, and in the same vein, you know, applying these european notions of conquest and discovery and describing indians as a race of people that are inferior character,
inferior religions, and, that the europeans were a superior civilization basically and notions that if that court in the 18 20s saw blacks also racially inferior in the slave cases saw indians in the same way. while the, that racial attitude towards the blacks has been reversed now and rooted out of the law, the same notions about indians remain embedded, you know. and there's a whole bunch of cases in that same line of judicial thought that justify the absolute power of congress, you know, over indian tribes. their persons and their properties. the sanction of breaking the treaties unilaterally with impunity.
the rule of indian tribes as if by unfettered guardianship, you know, without any judicial review, stamping out our religions. our notions that really have no place i think in a modern society that has much higher values. and so, we've come a long way in the, under the lay in federal indian law. we've had an incredible social movement but this idea of the supreme court paring back on those rights is very troubling, you know. i think we not only have to halt that trend but we have to go in and strengthen that bod i of law. you know the u.n. declaration, the u.n. in 2007, passed u.n. declaration on rights of
indigenous peoples and set forth landmark new standards for the survival and dignity and well-being of the world's indigenous people including here in the united states and these are rights that encompass all of our aspirations as american indians that are addressed in that comprehensive human rights declaration. and the obama administration officially endorsed that three months ago back in washington, d.c. so we, we now see a new order and a stand at the threshold of implementing that u.n. declaration and those minimum standards into our american domestic law and social policy and i think that the, if we can raise our domestic law so that it comports with all of these minimum standards, set by the u.n., that it will,
strengthen federal indian law. it will result until discarding these nefarious legal doctrines that have been, become embedded in our federal indian law and, make our nation a better place, you know, in a post-colonial world. you know, these u.n. declarations arise from notions of equality, notions of justice, notions of self-determination, notions of, that these political and human and cultural property rights of native peoples are inherent human rights, you know. and stem and they're based on contemporary international human rights law, a much better source of values than, you know, the old notions of racism and conquest and colonialism
that are the underlying values of federal indian law. so, we have the prospect of maybe a brand new set of rules that we can perhaps, reconceptualize the basis for indigenous rights in the u.s. and in a more just fashion and you know, still have equally sound and perhaps even more vigorous native rights as indigenous peoples. why should we do that? i think that our native, cultural survival of our native people, you know, which is at stake in the 21st century and, we really offer a great diversity in our human family and our wisdom, traditions, from some of our hunting, fishing and gathering cosmologies and some of our earlier primal religions that rose
on this soil have much to offer to our modern-day society and i think most americans are seeing and appreciating that now. and i think we can look to this u.n. declaration as a model. as an agenda for this next generation, you know, to strengthen that as we stride towards a more just culture, you know. 500 years after columbus. >> well, thank you. at this point in the program, i'd like to open the discussion to questions from the audience. if anyone from the audience would like to ask one of our authors a question, we have a microphone here in the center aisle, if you would please, come to the center so we can all hear you when you ask the question. while you're maybe thinking, whether you want to be brave enough to stand up and ask, i will, again remind you that this program will be broadcast in approximately
two weeks. we don't know the specific date. but it will be broadcast on c-span which in the tulsa area is channel 44 and 45 on the cox cable network and it is channel 350 and 351 on the directv satellite program. does anyone have a question they would like to ask? please tell us your name and then ask your question. thank you. >> i'm catherine cox. i'm interested in your hopefulness, i'm being picked up, yes. in your influence on the laws. i don't know how big a slice of the population but, a vocal one, who would just assume our country not even really pay our dues and participate. we aren't bound by what the u.n. says relative to other things, involvement in the globe and what not. are you optimistic that what the u.n. adopts will actually be honored -- by our powers that be?
>> i'm very optimistic. i think that americans are a fundamentally just people and that, once educated, it's been my experience as an indian attorney, once, the, the larger society has been educated on indigenous issues they invariably acted to do the right thing. it's the lack of, the paucity of public information about native people that it's the root cause of all of our current problems, you know in native america. and, i'm just more optimistic now than i ever have been. that, you know, that we're ready for social change, you know, i think first of all, can, we've already witnessed the rise of modern indian nations in the last generation or two. and after that, experience,
our, we can look around our political landscape and see our native tribes, you know, as very sophisticated governments, you know, and they form the political and cultural and social unit and impetus for reforming federal indian law. we see, many of our tribes now are, have made economic gains through the gaming and economic development. justice costs money and we are probably poised now to put some of that discretionary wealth, you know, in the area of social and legal reform. we have much more, better human resources now as far as lawyers and folks like susan, authors, and artists and doctors and, and all of the professions that,
including our traditional people that can work to strengthen, you know, our legal and social fabric. and, i think that the, the u.n. declaration, it shows developing international norms, and it certainly will be the work of a generation. it will be the work of a generation. there are some very weighty areas, even though our laws and social policy come closer than most of the other 72 nations that have the world's 350 million indigenous peoples. there are some complex and thorny thickets we need to address as a society. but, and i think that the, the courts of the conquerer
which is title of my book, i took that from john marshall where he described as the american judicial system as courts of the conquer or, which makes you wonder how indians will fare. the days of that court are numbered. the supreme court is out of step and rowing against the tide because the other two branches of the federal government want to bolster tribal sovereignty and our economic self-determination and both the president and the congress. they are passing laws to strengthen our cultural integrity and et cetera and it is only the supreme court that is rowing against the tide but i think as our larger society insists upon justice for its native peoples, that the courts will come along. so i am optimistic.
>> do we have another question? >> this is for susan. i've read the book. it's a great story. and i'd like for you to say, tell us, what was the hardest part of writing the book? what was the darkest passage? >> well the hardest part of writing the book for me was really dealing with my issues with my father and bringing up a lot of some of the trauma associated with feeling rejected as a child and never good enough. and i think after writing and then talking to people and going back and writing again, it was like, therapy and it helped me understand where he was coming from and what kind of life that he was leading and how he was just trying to do the best he could at that time. to get along and to try to
keep two women happy and all these, yeah. you can imagine. but as i wrote and found out more about him i became more forgiving and understanding and i don't have that kind of resentment and a little bit of anger that i used to have. so i feel really free prove that. and i feel like i can recognize him as a person that was just doing the best he could at that time. >> [inaudible]. >> no, no. we have just a few minutes. we could probably do one more question. >> i'll sit down if, this is a quick one for miss supernaw. you mentioned in response to the question about what it was that got you through the night, you call it. how do you work with, if you do, with young people, now in similar situations, you know, 30 years now later, who maybe haven't had the dream? you had the gift of the dream but they haven't maybe
encountered or met their spiritual guide. how do they draw on that that they haven't experienced? >> i would like to emphasize that it is the answer and the strength is within you. it's inside you. and for people that don't believe in a spirit, i try to say well maybe it is your breath. think of it as you're breathing in because when you talk with students you get the whole realm. but i do try to emphasize that, even, there would be some people that would say even a spirit guide is just within your head. it is just something that you, that your mind sees and some people might say it is a hallucination. you don't need that to move forward. you just need whatever you can find within yourself and, i think, most people are probably going to relate that to a religion of some sort and that, and pray, i spent a lot of time crying and praying and for some
reason that, maybe just all the endorphines, getting rid of all that pain and stuff made it okay. but i think that and not being afraid to ask for help in the morning. as soon as you can, i just say, a lot of times the help you get you might not be able to find for a little while. that's why i say in the morning. whenever you can come up and ask for help because that's the main thing too. there have some religions and people leaders who will help you find the strength within yourself. >> one more short question? yes. >> now mr. echo-hawk and miss supernaw. i'm so appreciate of you being here and i wish there were bookses like this written when i was at my
daughter's and niece's age. i brought them today that it was important for them to see indian leaders what they have gone through and what they're doing for us. my daughter, patience and hope. my niece is delaware power pow wow princess. if you have just one thing to say to them today as young native women, and i know that's a hard question to say because you know that you have so much inside of your hearts and your spirits, to give, but if there was one thing that you could just impart to them today what would you say to them as young native women what they could do? i just wanted to tell you that i appreciate you today and just would ask you if you could do that? >> i would say believe in yourself. that's the most important thing. if you don't, it is hard to find other people that will believe in you too. i think that is important. walter, how about you? >> culture.
live within your culture. that is where you will find your strength. it will carry you a long ways. and also education. >> thank you. >> yes, thank you. that's all we have time for at this particular segment of the day. i would like to remind everyone that there will be a book signing immediately following the presentation in the lecture room next door. there will be books by both mr. echo-hawk and miss supernaw. like to again thank you, to say thank you to our distinguished guests for being here today and sharing a little bit about their work. we would like to thank you, c-span, and of course, like to thank the tulsa city county library and the american indian resource center for bringing another very good program about the native people to the tulsa area. i would like to thank for everyone coming. hope you have a safe travel home. i hope. [applause]
>> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback. twitter.com/book 6 tv. >> this is a sad day i have to say in mrs. kennedy's life. this is the red whom. i showed this that was the first room she completed in her restoration. this was the day of her husband's funeral. she insisted she meet those coming from afar. those who were diplomats, diplomatic corps. she stood with her brother-in-law, edward end did i on her right and insisted greeting everyone who come to pay her respects for her husband. we remember her for her state entertaining. in the short amount of time she was in the white house. it was only a little over 1,000 days, she and her husband threw 16 state dinners. in the first term, full four years of the bush term, they
held i believe it was two. mind you 9/11 happened during that time. there were security issues but the bushes, the second bushes, from texas, were just not as interested in that. they weren't as interested in state entertainment. they weren't as interested bringing people from abroad and entertaining them at the white house. the kennedys loved that lifestyle. they both came you know, from the northeast. they both had ties to new york city. president kennedy had ties to hollywood going back to his father's days there as a hollywood mogul in the 1920s. so they loved that glimmer and panache of entertainment but they also, particularly mrs. kennedy loved the arts. she would use each and everyone of these state entertainment occasions to bring artists to the white house. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org.
coming up next, "booktv" presents after words. we invite guests. ken walsh explores the relationship between u.s. presidents and african-american white house workers. the former president of the white house core responsibility dents association shows how race relations inside the president's home often reflected those in american society. he talks with author and educate are julianne malveaux. >> kenneth walsh, this book, "family of freedom" is just a fascinating piece of work. i really enjoyed it and was envious of you. you are talking about african-americans in the white house both as members of the cabinet but also as servers, enslaved people. >> right. >> talk a little bit what motivated you to do this.
>> there were a couple of things as a white house correspondent i covered the white house since 1986 full-time, you are looking for ways to see the president and getting behind the curtain and public relations and so on so tee what they were really like. i've written four other books. what i tried to do is find some prism to look at them through to find something different. >> if i might say you really have. your book about the presidential retreats is fascinating because it really is, like you're looking at the presidency with something that people wouldn't pick up. >> thank you. and, in this case i thought there was a, very important and fascinating issue of race that's been with us from the very beginning in the united states and how do presidents deal with that both in their policies and attitudes and dealing with the african-americans around them. then the other motivating factor when president obama was elected, the first african-american president. so the simple question, what, happened with african-americans in the past? president obama has gotten
to the height of our politics and our government but what is the history of african-americans in the white house and in dealing with the president? those are sort of the two threads that i tried to look at through this book. >> we can kind of draw a line in the sapped. robert weaver was the first african-american to be a cabinet member. he was the head of hud under i believe lyndon johnson. before that there were african-americans in the white house. >> yes. >> talk about what we did before we were cabinet members? >> in the very beginning of course we have a sort of a rather appalling history of our presidents and the race issue. eight of our first 12 presidents had slaves in the white house. they were the virginia planters, the southern planters. and they felt that slavery was part of their livelihood. and also politically they felt that they could not do anything about it because they would alienate the southern states this has been a common thing through our history. so we have sort of