Documentary, panel discussion about cultural survival, stolen children slated for Nov. 6 at AU

10/25/2019 ASHLAND, Ohio -- The film "Dawnland," Emmy Award-winner for outstanding research, will be shown on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in Ashland University's Hawkins-Conard Student Center Auditorium as part of the College of Arts & Sciences' biennial Symposium Against Indifference, which is focusing on "Liberty and Responsibility."

Co-sponsored by the Ashland Center for Nonviolence and the Native American Awareness Committee of the United Methodist Church, the event, which is free and open to the public, also will include a panel discussion immediately following the film's screening with Kimberlee Medicine Horn Jackson of the Yankton Sioux Tribe; Nancy Udolph, Ashland University associate professor of social work; and Daniel Hawk, Ashland Theological Seminary professor of Old Testament.

For most of the 20th century, government agents forced Native American children from their homes and placed them with white families to save them from being Indian. As recently as the 1970s, one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes or boarding schools. Many children experienced devastating emotional and physical harm by adults who mistreated them and tried to erase their cultural identity.

Now, for the first time, they are being asked to share their stories. In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States began an historic investigation. "Dawnland" goes behind the scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths,  reconciliation, racial healing, tribal autonomy and child welfare system reform. 

Crosscut, the Pacific Northwest’s independent news site, declares "Dawnland,"  “a powerfully illuminating film — a history lesson that you’re ashamed to have never learned but whose truths you’ll likely never forget.”  

Panelist Jackson was adopted off of the Yankton reservation under false pretenses, spent nearly four decades separated from her first family and was raised with a white Christian family. In addition to teaching English composition at Kent State and Ashland universities, Jackson also teaches an Indigenous Writing and Research class with The North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies: A Learning Community, and is co-editor of the Journal of NAIITS: An Indigenous Learning Community.

Joining Jackson for the panel discussion are two Ashland professors who have worked with the Native American populations. Hawk has been active in peace and justice programs locally and regionally and chairs the East Ohio Conference (UMC) Native American Awareness Committee. Udolph has presented at state, national and international conferences on a variety of topics, including cultural competence, working with indigenous populations and the social construction of difference.

The College of Arts and Sciences at Ashland University inaugurated the Symposium Against Indifference in 2001 as a biennial series of events and lectures dedicated to overcoming apathy in the face of human concerns by raising awareness and promoting compassionate engagement. The Symposium seeks to challenge the University community — as well as the wider Ashland community — toward a deeper understanding of difficult issues and toward creative personal and corporate responses. 

For more information about the Symposium Against Indifference, go to or contact Tricia Applegate, coordinator of CAS Communications at or 419-289-5950.

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###