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Whitworth University Marks Native American Heritage Month with Powerful Lecture

November 3, 2017
The Whitworth University Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, in observance of Native American Heritage Month, will present a lecture by Roberta Paul, retired Washington State University Spokane director of Native American Health Sciences, on Monday, Nov. 13, from 7-9 p.m. in Weyerhaeuser Hall’s Robinson Teaching Theatre.  

She will speak on historical trauma and the need to heal. Paul, a member of the Nez Perce Tribe (ni mii puu) was born and raised on the Nez Perce Reservation in Craigmont, Idaho. Her grandfather, Jess Paul, was a survivor of the Nez Perce War of 1877 and helped form the first Nez Perce tribal council and government in the 1920’s.

Paul earned her Ph.D. in leadership studies from Gonzaga University. Her research for her dissertation was historical trauma and healing, which involved researching five generations of her Nez Perce family going back to 1793 and is the basis for her lecture “Historical Trauma: Spirit of Survival.”

“The need to heal intergenerational historical trauma wounds is profound and deep in the Native American community,” Paul says. “Native Americans have experienced massive losses of lives, land, traditional ways and languages. Reclaiming our story has become a story of understanding the capacity of family ancestors to survive injury, forgiveness, spiritual healing and a strong will to survive against all odds.”

President George H.W. Bush, in 1990, declared the month of November “Native American Heritage Month.” The commemoration aims to provide a platform for the sharing of cultural traditions, music, crafts, dance and concepts of life.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or