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Lecture in Plain English, No. 27

〜True Pioneers:Native Americans

Date: 13 March 2022 (Sun), 1:30~3:30PM (Doors open at 1:15) Location: Aoba Community and Cross-Cultural Center, Room 5 Hosted by: Yokohama Aoba International Lounge Guest Speaker: Mr. Michael Graff

Mr. Michael Graff has been in Japan for 18 years, majored in biology and cultural anthropology in university, and has devoted himself to research on ethnology. His research is based on the Native Americans of North and South America, with particular interest in the Indigenous peoples of his home state of Kansas. Mr. Michael Graff is also a teacher for the English classes offered at the lounge, and this was the first time he gave a lecture about Native Americans to us. The event was held during a quasi-state of emergency, with 24 participants and 6 staff in attendance. We stressed the need to sanitize, check temperatures, ventilate, and limit the number of people attending the event.

While we often imagine horses, bows and arrows, and “Indians” when we think of Native Americans, the reality is that they are spread all across the North and South American continents and exist with many different genetic identities. Moreover, we can also see how diversity came about by understanding that groups of Native Americans developed various lifestyles to adapt to different climates and natural features of the North and South American continents.

We were surprised to learn that things we encounter daily, such as aspirin, popcorn, chocolate, pancakes, and socks, are all blessings brought from the “true pioneers” of the American continents.

Although we tend to grasp themes of cultural anthropology in simple terms, we were able to look at this theme (About Native Americans) from various angles, and we spent a valuable 2 hours gaining a deeper understanding and looking at different problems.

Also, as a surprise, we were treated to a performance of 2 songs by Native American flute player Mr. Mark Akixa. For the participants, this was the first time in a while to enjoy a “real event”.


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