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For Immediate Release

June 20, 2008

Actor Wes Studi to Serve as Master of Ceremonies at ALA President’s Program

CHICAGO – Until he attended grade school, Wes Studi only spoke Cherokee. Later, as an actor, he portrayed American Indians in such films as “Dances with Wolves,” “Last of the Mohicans, ” and “Geronimo.”

During the American Library Association’s Annual Conference, which runs from June 26 to July 2 in Anaheim, Calif., Studi will serve as the master of ceremonies for the ALA President’s Program featuring a discussion of efforts to support Native and English language literacy for indigenous children. The program will be held from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. on June 29 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Studi is the national spokesperson for the Indigenous Language Institute in Santa Fe, which will also be represented during the program by its director, Inee Slaughter, who will recognize Oneida Elder Maria Hinton for her work on an Oneida dictionary, as well as her efforts to preserve the language.

Born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, Studi served in Vietnam before becoming active in the American Indian Movement (AIM), taking part, in the Occupation of Wounded Knee and the Trail of Broken Treaties in the early 1970s. He began his acting career at The American Indian Theatre Company in Tulsa.

He made his film debut in 1989, with “Powwow Highway,” and followed that with roles in “Dances with Wolves,” “Last of the Mohicans” and “Heat.” On television, he played “Lt. Joe Leaphorn” in the
PBS Mystery! Adaptations of Tony Hillerman novels and also appeared in “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.”

Studi has authored two children’s books, plays bass and is also a stone carver.

The President’s Program also will include remarks from claymation artist and graphic novel illustrator Roy Boney Jr. along with other tribal school educators, who will discuss efforts to support English and Native language literacy programs for Native children. Attendees also will view segments from WGBH-Boston’s “Between the Lions” Head Start Initiative with tribal communities and advance clips from “We Shall Remain,” an American Experience PBS (Public Broadcasting System) series that focuses on the history of American Indian culture. The series is scheduled for release in April 2009.

Dr. Loriene Roy, ALA president, has held a long-standing commitment to developing and promoting library services and cultural heritage initiatives with and for indigenous populations. She founded and directs “If I Can Read, I Can Do Anything,” a national reading club for Native children, and “Honoring Generations,” an IMLS-funded graduate scholarship program for indigenous students. She has written extensively on these and other efforts. She is Anishinabe, enrolled on the White Earth Reservation, a member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.