Political Activist Ada Deer Joins the JJC Community for Women’s HERSTORY Month on March 22

Native American social worker, political activist, and former head of the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs Ada Deer will give a presentation entitled “A Conversation with Ada Deer, A Woman of Courage” on Wednesday, March 22, at 1 p.m. in the JJC Library event area on the Main Campus, at 1215 Houbolt Road in Joliet. This event is free and open to the public.

In this presentation, Deer will highlight her journey as a social activist, examine the current struggles and challenges of women and Native American issues in the U.S., and discuss the future of social advocacy.

Deer is a woman with many firsts attached to her name. She was the first woman to be appointed Secretary for Indian Affairs in the U.S. Department of the Interior, the first American woman in the U.S. to run for Congress in Wisconsin, the first American Indian to earn a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University, and was the first American Indian Woman to graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Among her many accomplishments, Deer successfully advocated for the passage of the 1973 Menominee Tribal Restoration Act, which officially returned the Menominee Reservation to federally recognized status, securing the tribe’s sovereignty, land and natural resources. Because of her work, Deer once again achieved another first, by being the first woman to chair the Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin.

Over the years, Deer has served on many local, state and national committees. She has also received numerous awards throughout her lifetime, including the Indian Council, Indian Resources Institute, Girl Scouts, National Women’s History, National Women’s Studies, Harvard University, Delta Gamma Foundation and the John Jay Foundation.

Born in Keshena, Wisconsin, on the Menominee Reservation, Deer earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received her master’s from the School of Social Work at Columbia University. From there, she worked in Minneapolis at the Waite Neighborhood House, Bureau of Indian Affairs, University of Minnesota and Minneapolis Public Schools. Both before and after her years in office, she subsequently became a distinguished lecturer at University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Social Work and directed the American Indian Studies Program.

“We are honored that Ms. Ada Deer will be visiting Joliet Junior College to share about her work as a civil rights leader, social worker and former U.S. Secretary of Indian Affairs,” said JJC Multicultural Pathway Coach Martha Villegas-Miranda. “It’s rare we have such a distinguished speaker on campus and we look forward to having a courageous conversation with Ms. Ada Deer about women and Native American issues in the United States.”

Before the presentation, refreshments will be served. There will also be a raffle for special signed posters from the National Women’s History Project.

All Women’s HERSTORY Month programs are co-sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs.

For more information about the event, contact Martha Villegas-Miranda at 815-280-2829 or mvillega@jjc.edu.

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