Column: Loyola’s Peace Conference needed more attendance

Cody Downey

For my Indigenous Literature and Translation class, I had to participate in Loyola’s 11th Annual Peace Conference. This year’s theme was “The Other America,” focusing on marginalized groups’ experiences in the Americas.

Now if I’m being completely honest, I probably wouldn’t have participated in this conference if it wasn’t for needing to do it for a class. However, I can gladly say I enjoyed my time at this conference.

For my class’ part of the conference, we discussed some of the topics we had been learning about in class and applied that to the conference. My talk specifically was about how indigenous texts are harmed when they are translated by non-indigenous translators.

This was my first time participating in a conference like this and I have to say it was pretty exciting. I had never had to use the knowledge I learned in class to talk at length about a topic before.

Along with my fellow classmates, there were other talks that happened. Chief Diversity Officer Sybol Anderson had a talk called “The Conscientious Stupidity of Racial Moderation.” Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Science Uriel Quesada talked about his book “Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism.” University President Tania Tetlow even closed out the entire conference with her talk called “Race, Gender and Criminal Justice.”

The one talk I did go to however was probably one of the most unique offered in the entire conference. “Art as Activism: Re-Asserting the Roots and Current Realities of Indigenous America,” was a talk led by a group of four Native American women whose tribes were based in Louisiana.

In their talk, the women discussed many different topics including Louisiana’s environmental issues, life as a Native American woman and the government’s recognition of Native American tribes. If I had made any talk at this conference, I was glad it was this one. It was interesting to hear these women’s perspectives, let alone find out there are Native Americans living in Louisiana.

However, this conference experience left me wishing more people had known about it. I can’t speak for every talk but the attendance for the talks I went to could’ve been better. These talks had a decent amount of people who were interested in the topics. But, there are probably people, like me, who wouldn’t have thought to attend or participate in an event like this.

When next year’s conference comes around, I recommend that everyone attend if possible. If our campus is one that is focused on social justice and being people for others, we should be living up to that and participating in events like this to find new ways to advocate for the topics we care about.