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SAI Centennial Symposium Archive

A symposium occurred Columbus Day weekend, October 7 – 9, 2011, to mark the centennial of the formation and first national meeting of the Society of American Indians (SAI) in October 1911 on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio.


The SAI (1911-1923) was the first national American Indian rights organization developed and run by American Indians themselves.

The early leaders of the SAI were assisted by the non-Native sociologist F. A. McKenzie, a professor at Ohio State, who invited six of these Indian leaders to hold a planning meeting on the Ohio State campus in April 1911. While here, they were invited by OSU President W. O. Thompson and by Columbus city leaders to hold the first annual conference of the SAI on the Ohio State campus as well, which they did over the Columbus Day weekend, October 12 – 17, 1911.

Nearly fifty prominent American Indian leaders, scholars, clergy, writers, artists, and other professionals participated in the conference, as did representatives of the university, the Columbus mayor's office, the Ohio governor's office, and the national office of Indian Affairs.

SAI Centennial Symposium

The SAI Centennial Symposium was held in the new Ohio Union on The Ohio State University campus and featured:

Welcoming remarks by OSU President Gordon Gee

Keynote addresses by Philip Deloria (University of Michigan), K. Tsianina Lomawaima (University of Arizona), and Robert Allen Warrior (University of Illinois)

A series of "state of the field" workshops on SAI figures and legacies

Entertainment by Joy Harjo

Sunday bus tour of the nearby Newark Earthworks

The three slideshows below include photographs of early SAI leaders, photographs from the early meetings of the SAI at Ohio State in 1911 and 1912, and excerpts from the SAI's journal:

Slideshow 1: Contains photographs of early SAI leaders

Slideshow 2: Contains photographs of early meetings of the SAI from 1911-1912

Slideshow 3: Contains photographs of excerpts from the SAI's Journal

The links found to the right will take you to a version of the slideshow on the American Indian Studies website.