Twelve American Indian women held a special meeting at the NWSA Convention, partly to participate in a symposium on Indian women, and partly to formalize the organization of a network of academic Indian women. Not only did the Convention bring together some of the most active and distinguished Indian women in the country, but it offered a framework for discussion and planning that will have a positive impact on women's studies and Native American studies.
When, with Peg Strobel's strong encouragement and support, Clara Sue Kidwell (Chippewa-Choctaw) and I (Cherokee) began to plan the state-of-the-art symposium on Indian women, we decided to make of it not merely an ordinary academic event but one that would accrue to the long-term benefit of Indian women and that would contribute to our colleagues' increased understanding of who and what we are. Certainly, our planning was informed by a strong sense of our relative invisibility as scholars, feminists, and activists, but more importantly, by our sense of the general lack and inaccuracy of most scholarship on Native American people, male and female. In that light, we determined to do at least three things: to identify and create a network of Indian women scholars and academics; to produce a definitive bibliography of works on and by Native American women; and to determine whether the NWSA would offer a sympathetic and useful context in which to operate as Indians and scholars. We feel we've made a good beginning on the first two tasks and reached a positive determination on the third. Moreover, other tasks have arisen out of the activities built around the symposium and the Convention.