Amerind Free Online Talk: Comanches, Captives, Germans: Transactions on the Texas Frontier, 1847 with Daniel J. Gelo & Christopher J. Wickham

Free Online Talk

Comanches, Captives, Germans: Transactions on the Texas Frontier, 1847

with Daniel J. Gelo, PhD & Christopher J. Wickham, PhD

Saturday, June 22, 2024

11:00 am – Arizona Time 

In 2021, three finely worked sketches dating back to the middle of the nineteenth century were brought to the attention of scholars studying the relationship between German settlers and Comanche Indians. Seemingly the work of one artist, and (with one exception) never published, the sketches feature Comanches, Germans, a captive girl, a wagon train, the landscape and wildlife of the Texas Hill Country, and dynamic scenes of cultural contact. Who was the girl? Who were the Comanches involved? Who were the Germans? Where and when did this captive exchange take place? What do we make of the rich Indian and German cultural details that the artist includes? How can we understand his work—as art, as data about Comanche life and customs, and as documentation of a specific cultural encounter? And, of course, who was the artist, and how important is his work? Trying to find answers to these questions, the presenters will examine the drawings in detail and decode information placed by the artist.

Daniel J. Gelo is Dean and Professor of Anthropology Emeritus and former Stumberg Distinguished University Chair at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Gelo holds Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A., and B.A. degrees in anthropology from Rutgers University. His publications include: Comanche Vocabulary (University of Texas Press, 1995), Comanches in the New West, 1896-1908 (with Stanley Noyes, University of Texas Press, 1999), Texas Indian Trails (with Wayne L. Pate, Republic of Texas Press, 2003), Comanches and Germans on the Texas Frontier: The Ethnology of Heinrich Berghaus (with Christopher J. Wickham, Texas A&M University Press, 2018), and Indians of the Great Plains (Second Edition, Routledge, 2019). He has won the UTSA President’s Distinguished Achievement Award, the University of Texas System Chancellor’s Council Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Presidio La Bahia Award for best book on early Texas history.

Christopher J. Wickham is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Having taught at the Universität Regensburg, Germany, Allegheny College, PA, and the University of Illinois at Chicago he moved to UTSA in 1991. Wickham retired from teaching in 2017. His research focuses on German literature and culture, and most recently on the interaction between German settlers and Comanches in 19th-century Texas. He authored a monograph on the dialect of Diendorf, Bavaria, (1987) and books on the notion of Heimat (1999) and Comanches and Germans in Texas (2018, with Daniel J. Gelo) which won the Presidio La Bahia Award for best book on early Texas history. Comanches, Captives, and Germans, a book coauthored with Dan Gelo, Hoppy Hopkins and Bryden Moon, appeared in January 2023. He is currently working with Dan Gelo on a study of 19th century Texas botanist and newspaperman Ferdinand Lindheimer.

Book Publication:

 Gelo, Daniel J., C. B. “Hoppy” Hopkins, Christopher J. Wickham, and Bryden Moon.

Comanches, Captives, and Germans: Wilhelm Friedrich’s Drawings from the Texas Frontier. Kerrville, TX: State House Press, 2022.

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Amerind Free Online Talk: Capturing Water in Chaco Canyon and the Legacy of R. Gwinn Vivian, with Samantha Fladd, PhD

Amerind Free Online Lecture

Capturing Water in Chaco Canyon and the Legacy of R. Gwinn Vivian

with Samantha Fladd, PhD

Saturday, April 6, 2024, 11:00 am – Arizona Time


Capturing Water in Chaco Canyon and the Legacy of R. Gwinn Vivian

While Chaco Canyon is renowned for massive great houses and concentrations of nonlocal materials, the ability of residents to productively farm the arid landscape has remained contentious within archaeology. These debates have ranged from questions over soil quality to the existence and use of water management features. Throughout his career, Dr. R. Gwinn Vivian worked tirelessly to locate and document evidence of water management, particularly canal systems, from within and around the Canyon. In this talk, I will provide an overview of this evidence and discuss the importance of Dr. Vivian’s legacy on the field of Southwest archaeology.

Samantha Fladd is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology and Director of the Museum of Anthropology at Washington State University. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona in 2018 and has been doing archaeological research in the Four Corners region of the US Southwest for about 15 years. She is the second author on an upcoming book with Dr. R. Gwinn Vivian on Capturing Water (University of Utah Press), which presents his lifetime of research on water management and agricultural potential in and around Chaco Canyon.

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Amerind Free Online Talk: American Indian History and Public Education, with Julie Cajune (Salish)

Amerind Free Online Talk

American Indian History and Public Education

with Julie Cajune (Salish)

Saturday, December 2, 2023, 11:00 am (AZ time)

American Indians are a distinct minority in the United States for several reasons. First, they are the original people of this land, and second, they hold political status as tribal nations. Many Americans do not understand the political distinction of American Indian Tribes. If we recall our public-school years of social studies, we find scant content on American Indian nations or individuals.

This circumstance influenced Salish educator Julie Cajune throughout her career in public education and with her own tribal nation. One of her efforts to address this situation resulted in the book Our Way, A Parallel History.

Julie will discuss the importance of history education for a literate society and healthy democracy.

Julie Cajune (Salish)

Julie holds a master’s degree in education from Montana State University–Billings. After several years of classroom teaching on her home reservation, Julie began developing tribal history materials and curriculum and served as her Tribe’s Education Director. Julie has collaborated with Indigenous scholars, knowledge keepers, artists, and musicians, as well as elders and poets to produce materials in a variety of media including DVDs—Stories from a Nation Within, Art and Identity, Remembering the Songs, and Inside Anna’s Classroom— and children’s books—Gift of the Bitterroot and Huckleberries, Buttercups and Celebrations, and a variety of other publications Julie is a recipient of the national Milken Educator Award, the Montana Governor’s Humanities Award, and two Lifetime Achievement Awards. She continues her work to add Native voices to the master narrative of American history. (attendees can use coupon code AMERIND25 for 25% off the book)

To register for this free online event, visit:


Amerind Free Online Artist Talk: The Art of Ryan Singer


Amerind Free Online Artist Talk

The Art of Ryan Singer, Diné (Navajo)

We apologize and appreciate your patience on September 16th.  Due to some technical difficulties, we have had to rescheduled to:

Saturday, November 4, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time

Join us as we welcome artist Ryan Singer for an online artist talk.

Ryan Singer is a Diné (Navajo) artist-painter based in Albuquerque, NM. Creating artwork based on his Navajo heritage and incorporating pop culture elements including science fiction imagery. He weaves stories of his childhood memories with nostalgic iconography. He has been included in the “Indigenous Futurism” movement but has been drawing Star Wars characters since 1977. Ryan also enjoys creating portrait realism of Native subjects with a contemporary appeal. His artwork is in collections of several museums and collectors worldwide. Ryan had garnered several awards including from the renowned SWAIA’s Santa Fe Indian Market. He has acquired his BFA in Art Studio from UNM, where he was in a collaborative lithography class with the Tamarind Institute. He now plans on working towards his MFA. Born in Cedar City, Utah, but originally from Tuba City, Arizona, Ryan is of the Tódich’iinii (Bitter Water) clan and born for the Kinya’aani (Towering House) clan. Having grown up in various parts of the Navajo Reservation, Ryan often reflects on his childhood in his artwork through his depictions of science fiction and pop culture icons. Ryan’s other notable works of art include the popular “Mutton Stew” painting which he modeled after Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can” series but with a distinct Navajo twist; his iconic “Wagon Burner” which has become his trademark symbol. He has been part of exhibitions featuring this new genre of art. He also co-curated an exhibition along with Tony Abeyta at the Navajo Nation Museum about the “Long Walk”.

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“Hope in a Hogan”, 2022

Amerind Free Online Talk: Arizona’s Creation Story: Treaties and Executive Orders Regarding Native Nations and the Arizona Territory from 1846-1912 with Millicent Michelle Pepion, PhD

Amerind Free Online Lecture

Arizona’s Creation Story: Important Treaties and Executive Orders Regarding Native Nations and the Arizona Territory from 1846-1912

with Millicent Michelle Pepion, PhD

Saturday, October 28, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time

 Navajo elders say we exist in the “Fourth World,” the glittering world. In this world, we were given all of the support we needed to sustain life within the boundaries of four sacred mountains. For the Mojave people of the Colorado River Indian Tribes, life began with Mvto at Spirit Mountain. For O’odham peoples, whose traditional territory covered much of southern Arizona and northern Mexico, the epicenter of life lies in the Baboquivari Mountains where, in a cave at the base, resides their Creator, I’itoi. As for the Havasu Baaja, the People of the Blue Green Waters, what is now considered the Grand Canyon National Park also served as the womb for their people’s existence. This talk will focus on the creation stories of these four nations in comparison to the Creation Story of the State of Arizona. Much of the history shared involves the transfer of ownership from Mexico by way of the Gadsden Purchase, along with agreements, treaties, and Executive Orders signed between the Navajo, Mohave, O’odham, and Havasupai peoples, and what we now consider early Arizona pioneers such as Kit Karson, Charles Poston, Jedidiah Smith, and Rutherford B. Hayes, all which played a part in the creation of America’s last contiguous state signed into the Union.

Dr. Millicent Michelle Pepion is Bitter Water Clan born for the Blackfeet Nation. She currently resides in Tucson where she earned a Ph.D. in American Indian Studies from The University of Arizona. Her dissertation research draws connections between U.S. Census data for Native populations and Native Voter Suppression in Arizona. Dr. Pepion’s survey included an overview of all 22 Native Nations in Arizona in comparison to county and state statistics regarding history, land, law, and representation. However, her expertise does not end there. Through various work, Dr. Pepion has developed courses, workshops and presentations that span topics such as Federal Indian Law and Policy, Sovereignty, Native and Western Views on Philosophy, Protection of Sacred Places, Introduction to Navajo Literacy and Culture, Positive Indian Parenting, Traditional Indian Medicine, Indigenous Methodologies, and Writing in Two Worlds. Other degrees include: A.A. in Liberal Arts (Haskell Indian Nations University, 2012), B.S. in Liberal Studies (Arizona State University, 2014), and M.S. in Family and Human Development (Arizona State University, 2016). Dr. Pepion is a 2012 Clinton Global Initiative University Commitment Maker and the recipient of the Cal Seciwa Memorial Scholarship (ASU, 2015), the Heard Museum Eagle Spirit Award (ASU, 2016), and the Margaret Susseman Memorial Scholarship (UA, 2017-2020).

To register for this free online event, visit:


Amerind Free Online Artist Talk: The Art of Matagi Sorensen

Amerind Free Online Artist Talk

The Art of Matagi Sorensen (Yavapai-Apache)

Saturday, July 15, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time

Join us as we welcome artist, Matagi Sorensen for an online artist talk.

Matagi Sorensen (Yavapai-Apache) is a contemporary jeweler/metalsmith who creates hand fabricated and lost wax-cast jewelry.  His contemporary style has garnered the attention of many. His designs are sleek and modern with an urban aesthetic that draws from traditional and natural motifs rooted in his Yavapai-Apache heritage.  His curiosity and drive to learn more about his craft make him an exciting artist to follow. Please take this opportunity to join us as Matagi discusses his work, journey and the inspiration behind his incredible creations.

Matagi Sorensen was born in Cottonwood, Arizona. He had an interesting childhood, traveling around the Southwest with his family, making small craft items to sell. When he was 15 his family moved back to the reservation where Matagi began working for a summer youth program. At 18 he went to work for his tribe and contemplated becoming a social worker.  He went on to enroll at Yavapai Community College eventually taking a jewelry making class, beginning his journey to become a professional jeweler.  He graduated from Northern Arizona University with BFA in 2011 followed by an MFA from Arizona State University in 2021 where he was able to further his knowledge and skills in metalsmithing and design, as well as experiment with natural and culturally traditional materials.  Matagi has gone on to exhibit his work throughout the country at various shows including Santa Fe Indian Market, Heard Museum Fair, Eiteljorg Indian Market, and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Art Market among others.

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Amerind Free Online Talk: The Distribution of Cultural Lac Scale Use (Tachardiella spp.) in the Arid Southwest

Amerind Free Online Lecture

The Distribution of Cultural Lac Scale Use (Tachardiella spp.) in the Arid Southwest

with Marilen Pool, PhD

Saturday, August 12, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time

This talk will discuss the examination of the lac scale insect in the arid Southwest and the distribution of its cultural use. Three species, Tachardiella fulgensTachardiella larreae and Tachardiella pustulata are those most known to have been utilized by the indigenous peoples of the region from as early as the Archaic period to the modern era as an adhesive, mastic, and coating for the fabrication of tools, weapons, musical instruments, kicking balls, ornaments, and amulets. It was also used for hermetic sealing of containers to protect foods and seeds from pests and as a repair material for mending pottery.

Marilen Pool, PhD, is a Senior Project Conservator at the Arizona State Museum and Objects Conservator and owner of Sonoran Art Conservation Services in Tucson. She recently earned her doctorate degree in Arid Lands Resource Sciences at the University of Arizona. She has a graduate degree in Museum Studies from Oregon State University and is a graduate of the Sir Sanford Fleming Art Conservation Program in Ontario, Canada.

To register for this free online event, visit:

Amerind Free Online Artist Talk: The Art of Shaun Beyale

Amerind Free Online Artist Talk

The Art of Shaun Beyale (Diné)

Saturday, July 1, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time

Join us as we welcome artist Shaun Beyale for an online artist talk. Shaun Beyale (Diné)Navajo will discuss his art and his journey as a comic book artist, illustrator, painter, screen printer and, digital artist. From growing up in Shiprock, New Mexico on the Navajo Nation to his early interest in comics, superheroes and his passion for drawing that sparked a lifelong journey to create.  Shaun was drawn toward the genre of comic books and superheroes because it reminds him of the old traditional stories of good versus evil. Using his cultural stories as inspiration to create something new and more modern.  Creating his own Indigenous Superheroes.  Powerful Native women define Beyale’s characters, reflecting his upbringing, being surrounded by generations of strong women, inspired him.  In Navajo culture, we’re a matrilineal society, women tend to have more power and have a strong presence in our cultural stories.

Shaun has recently created Indigenous Superheroes for the Marvel Universe, a lifelong dream. He hopes that his characters and comics will be a source of education about contemporary Indigenous culture.  His motto is “empowerment thru art”.  He creates and shares his empowering art with hope to inspire future generations to find their inner “Monster Slayer” to face life’s challenges.

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Amerind Free Online Lecture: Caretakers of the Land: History of Land and Water in the San Xavier Community with Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan, PhD

Amerind Free Online Lecture

Caretakers of the Land: History of Land and Water in the San Xavier Community  

with Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan, PhD

Saturday, September 30, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time

San Xavier del Bac is known as the White Dove of the Desert, but not many know the rich history surrounding the community called Wa:k (where the water goes in). Long before our urban centers and city lights lit up the dark desert skies, the Tohono O’odham were cultivating and shaping the land with abundant agriculture—from squash and beans to corn and cotton.

For generations they passed down their rich knowledge and culture grown from their connection to the desert.  Join us for a program with Dr. Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan as she shares her knowledge about the history and culture of her people, the Wa:k O’odham.


Dr. Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan is Tohono O’odham and from the San Xavier District. She serves as faculty in the Tohono O’odham Studies Program at Tohono O’odham Community College. Ramon-Sauberan earned her PhD in American Indian Studies with a minor in Journalism at the University of Arizona in May 2023. Her research focuses on the history of land and water in the San Xavier District and she has written for news publications across the US including Indian Country Today. Ramon-Sauberan is also a communication specialist for the National Science Foundation’s AURA/NOIRLab closely working with Kitt Peak National Observatory.

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Amerind Free Online Lecture: Origins of Maya Civilization Examined at Aguada Fénix, Mexico with Takeshi Inomata, PhD

Amerind Free Online Lecture

Origins of Maya Civilization Examined at Aguada Fénix, Mexico

with Takeshi Inomata, PhD, University of Arizona

Saturday, June 3, 2023, 11:00 am – Arizona Time


The talk will discuss recent findings from the site of Aguada Fénix, Mexico, which was discovered in 2018.

Its central platform, which measures 1400 x 400 m horizontally and 10-15 m in height and was built around 1000 BC, is the largest and oldest monumental building in the Maya area.

The results of investigations at this site are changing our understanding of how the Maya civilization and surrounding societies developed.


Takeshi Inomata, PhD, is a professor at the School of Anthropology, University of Arizona.

He has been investigating social changes in the Maya area through field projects at Aguateca and Ceibal in Guatemala and in the Middle Usumacinta region of Mexico.


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