02 Nov Gyasi Ross
Speaker: Gyasi Ross
Attorney, Author, and Spoken Word Artist from the Blackfeet Reservation and the Suquamish Reservation
Speech Topics Include:
- Indian Education vs. Indigenous Education
- Don’t Know Much About Indians? Contemporary Native America in Focus
- Native Rules of Standing and Invisibility: Derrick Bell Revisited
- Breakdances With Wolves: When Hip-Hop Came to Indian Country
- Black History Month, Indian-Style: Natives and Black Folks in This Together Since 1492
- Survival Art: Creating codes for survival
- Trauma: Moving past describing the water
Speaker Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet) is an essayist and writer, poet and speaker, lawyer and activist. Through a life of service, listening and living within Native communities, Gyasi profoundly understands the needs of his people and has dedicated his life to forging change within his communities.
Part of Gyasi’s mission is raising the profile of the reservation populace, often viewed with ignorance as a shadowy world, as well as instilling a sense of pride amongst the people. He has taken his message to hundreds of colleges and universities, high schools and community venues nationwide.
“My point in everything is helping my community and the various populations therein to influence the systems that affect them. My goal in life is about mentorship, about figuring out how to instruct others to fulfill their purpose and understand the sense of self-awareness and application of spirituality to everyday life. To understand that we are worthwhile: economically, politically, educationally, and spiritually. We have a lot to offer.”
Speaker Gyasi Ross is the author of two books, “Don’t Know Much about Indians (but I wrote this book about us anyways)” (2011) and “How to Say I Love You in Indian” (2013). “I come from a family of storytellers. My family tells long stories, drinking coffee and blowing smoke in your face. It just fit for me to tell stories, and then I started writing them. My standard for writing stories is, if I can’t explain it to my niece or nephew, or my grandpa who dropped out of school then I need to understand this topic better. People have a love affair with over-academicizing things.”
Ross has written for Huffington Post, Indian Country Today, Deadspin and Gawker and is often tapped to appear on various talk shows and news programs (including MSNBC and ESPN) on topics about Indian Country and beyond (immigration, climate change, sports). Ross is in demand as a speaker at conferences on race and social justice as well as speaking at colleges and universities nationwide on a variety of topics. Speaker Gyasi Ross also speaks to and mentors young people to encourage confidence in the future and to address the epidemic of adolescent and teen suicide in Indian Country.
Ross’ latest project is a spoken word/hip hop CD, “Isskootsik (before here was here)” which recently debuted at number five on college radio hip hop charts.
While still utilizing his skills as a Columbia Law School graduate, Speaker Gyasi Ross continues in the family business of working within the community and telling his people’s stories. Always believing in his mission, Ross first and foremost just wants things to be right with the complex world of the Indian nations. “Gratification is internal and I’m comfortable with that,” Ross says, “I’m just trying to figure out how to help my folks.”
Indian Education vs. Indigenous Education
Don’t Know Much About Indians? Contemporary Native America in Focus
Native Rules of Standing and Invisibility: Derrick Bell Revisited
Breakdances With Wolves: When Hip-Hop Came to Indian Country
Black History Month, Indian-Style: Natives and Black Folks in This Together Since 1492
Survival Art: Creating codes for survival
Trauma: Moving past describing the water