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2nd Annual Native American Symposium May 3, 2024

About the Symposium

The 2nd Annual Native American Symposium at Santa Clara University focused on Reconciliation and was held on Friday, May 3, 2024 from 9:00am – 4:30pm at the Mayer Theatre on the SCU Campus.

This year’s symposium building upon last year’s Inaugural Symposium that was focused on the Challenges of the Federal Recognition Process.

This symposium has been planned in collaboration with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area, and co-presented by SCU’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion, de Saisset Museum and the Community Heritage Lab.

The symposium is just one component of the University’s ongoing collaboration with the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, and is intended to bring greater dialogue and civic engagement to the campus community and regional community. SCU sees the importance of providing a space in which Native leaders and community members come together with academics and others to explore themes and issues important to Native community partners; a responsibility that is important for all Bay Area institutions. 

The Symposium is FREE and open to the community. The schedule of events is listed below as well as the registration details. Instructors are welcome to bring their classes to any portion of the Symposium.

The full recording of the Symposium is now available.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Lauren Baines ( and/or Ray Plaza (

Schedule of Events

All Sessions held at the Mayer Theatre and Schedule is Subject to Change

8:30 AM

Doors Open


Continental Breakfast in Lobby
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM

Welcome & Opening remarks from SCU and Muwekma Ohlone

Land Acknowledgement


  • Lauren Baines, Santa Clara University
  • Dr. Ray Plaza, Santa Clara University
  • Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe
  • Julie Dominguez, Muwekma Ohlone Tribe
9:30AM - 10:20AM

Panel Discussion: Introduction to Reconciliation in order to set the stage

Panel members include:

  • Shá Duncan Smith, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence
  • Lauren Baines
  • Dr. Ray Plaza
  • Joseph Torres, Muwekma Ohlone Faithkeeper
10:20 AM - 10:30 AM


10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Presentation: Understanding the Historical Underpinnings behind Ohlone history, this ancestral land and Mission Santa Clara

Dr. Lee Panich, Santa Clara University
11:30 AM - 12:00 Noon

Presentation: What is taking place today within the Muwekma Ohlone?

Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Lunch Break

Lunch provided to all attendees
1:00 PM 

Reconvening and Welcome

Claire Alford, President, SCU Native American Coalition for Change (NACC)


1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

Special Speaker: Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese, Assistant Professor of Law (Stanford)

2:00 PM - 2:15 PM


2:15 PM - 3:20 PM

Presentation: Inside the Spiritual Dimensions of Reconciliation and the Catholic Theological Perspective

Dr. David DeCosse,
Director of Religious and Catholic Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
3:30 PM - 4:15 PM

Panel Discussion: How is Reconciliation manifesting itself at SCU?

Panel members include:

  • Charlene Nijmeh, Chairwoman
  • Lauren Baines
  • Isabella Gomez
  • Linda Hylkema
  • Dr. Amy Lueck
  • Dr. Kai Lukoff
  • Dr. Ray Plaza
4:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Closing Remarks



Registration and Logistics

The 2nd Annual Native American Symposium is FREE and open to the public.

In order to access the Symposium, please note the following instructions:

  • If you are an SCU faculty, staff or student, you will be asked to show your university ID to enter the Symposium
  • If you are a non-SCU member, we ask that you register in order to get your FREE Symposium ticket to show at the door

For those driving to the SCU Campus, please plan to park in the North Campus Garage (the parking lot off Benton, across from the Fire Station). If you enter 1063 Alviso Street, Santa Clara, CA in to GPS, it will bring you to the parking garage. Once in the garage, use one of the pay stations and when prompted enter code (to be sent via email to those that register) to obtain a free parking pass. The system will ask for your license plate number.  The parking pass/receipt then needs to be placed on your dashboard. Please note this code does not work in the Main Campus Parking Structure (near the front entrance of campus).


The Symposium will provide a continental breakfast and will have coffee, tea and water available. In addition, a free lunch will be provided to all participants. Meat, Vegetarian and Gluten-Free options will be available.