The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its monthly
cultural heritage lecture series with Dr. Richard L. Allen, policy analyst for
the Cherokee Nation, on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m., in the West Virginia State
Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The talk,
“American Indians Today,” is free and open to the public.
Allen will present an overview of American Indians in contemporary America from a Cherokee perspective. He also will explain that American Indians have maintained their language, history, culture, traditions, customs, and spirituality and that their life ways remain a source of strength in spite of years of forced assimilation and colonization. Allen says, “American Indians are a diverse people and to understand them, one must move beyond the stereotypical image perpetuated by print and visual media.”
As policy analyst for the Cherokee Nation, Allen prepares policy documents, white papers, and research papers in support of cultural identity; tribal sovereignty; Cherokee history; anthropology; and federal, state and tribal legislation. In addition, he acts as a liaison between the Cherokee Nation and appropriate federal, state and tribal agencies, as well as dealing with Veterans, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and Section 106 issues of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Among other things, Allen has also been director of the Jack Brown Center for the Cherokee Nation, supervising more than 30 employees in a long-term residential treatment center for American Indian adolescents in need of treatment for alcohol and substance abuse and behavior issues, implementing alternative treatment options including use of traditional American Indian therapies such as the sweat lodge, song, and dance, history and oral tradition to augment mainstream treatment and a 12-step program for adolescents.
Allen also has served as a facilitator at Camp Chaparral, Veterans Affairs (VA) Office, Yakama Indian Nation, Toppenish, Wash. While there he provided VA service providers, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and administrators with knowledge and understanding of the American Indian’s traditional healing practices.
Allen received his bachelor’s degree in education from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Okla., master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., and his doctorate in education from University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. He served in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1966-69.
For more information about the lecture, “American Indians Today,” call (304) 558-0162.
The next lecture in the series will be held Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., featuring Joe Dobbs, owner of Fret ’N Fiddle in St. Albans, and host of West Virginia Public Radio’s Music from the Mountains. Dobbs will discuss the evolution of melodies and ballads that have been preserved in the Appalachian region, and play some of the tunes on a variety of folk instruments.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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Media Note: Dr. Richard L. Allen can be reached at work at (918) 456-0671, ext. 2466.