Dr. Eugene E. Garcia, dean and professor, ASU College of Education, welcomed attendees with a brief but inspirational address on the importance of maintaining one’s heritage, language and culture. Garcia is an internationally renowned bilingual educator and formerly a dean and professor at the University of California at Berkeley.
Garcia noted that heritage must be maintained and protected at all costs. He said it is language and culture, which serve, not only as a guide and framework for making sense of and finding meaning and purpose in the natural world, but can serve also as strong roots to weather the storms of life. Garcia said his grandfather imparted this knowledge to him.
Dr. Kathryn Manuelito, assistant professor at ASU College of Education, a Navajo from New Mexico, moderated the day’s progress. She noted that ASU-CIE has been taking the lead in addressing issues and challenges in American Indian education since its inception in the late ’50s under the direction of Dr. Robert Roessel. Manuelito shared an observation about the appalling lack of multicultural education, perspectives and knowledge of language minority populations with her students today, especially about American Indians.