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Power and Privilege Symposium Page

2020 UAS Power & Privilege Symposium

November 10–11, 2020 8:15 a.m.–7 p.m.

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The 6th Annual UAS Power & Privilege Symposium is a conference-style event designed to give members of the UAS & Southeast Alaska communities an opportunity to explore dynamic and pressing societal changes through difficult, thoughtful, and honest conversations about the complex and increasingly diverse society in which we live.

The Symposium helps advance the University’s role in pursuing truth, advancement of learning, and the dissemination of knowledge in a setting supportive of free inquiry and discussion. Topics in recent symposia include ways social hierarchies and identities manifest themselves in our communities and discussions about the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, religion, body size, ability, mental illness, and class.

Topics for the Symposium may be proposed by any member of the UAS community and are selected with a goal of sharing diverse perspectives and experiences. The one-day Symposium is scheduled as a regular part of the University’s fall calendar; most classes do not meet on the scheduled day to allow broad participation by students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Schedule of Events

Pre-recorded Sessions

Decolonizing the Ocean Sciences

Presenter: Dr. Michael Navarro


Academic infrastructure development to include and provide equity for residents from all backgrounds, moves science forward. Efforts designed to increase diversification of the USA workforce have been made by National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), yet many communities remain underrepresented in many disciplines of science, including the ocean sciences. In this talk, I discuss the necessity of decolonizing education at the university level and how we can change from a narrative of "these things take time" towards action items that, when enacted, unify administration, faculty, and the student body. If enacted, new academic infrastructure can better reach untapped talent pools of people and gain traction towards the calls made by NSF, NAS, and NOAA to diversify the USA scientific workforce. 

Creative Nonfiction and Lived Experiences of Power

Presenter: Dr. Corinna Cook


Writing from life is at once personal and communal. The literary essay, defined first by searching and second by strange discoveries uncovered by the solitary mind, is often surprisingly invested in social participation and in illuminating the wider collective. This talk will prepare participants to create their own writing from life by introducing the nuts and bolts—and the simplest but most powerful poetics—of the contemporary protest essay. This talk will draw on short examples from the field’s trend toward local political involvement, searing community insight, and historic recovery by writers like Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Lee Maracle, José Orduña, Sarah de Leeuw, and Zadie Smith. It will outline and present a literary toolkit accessible to anyone inclined to explore their own lived experiences of power and privilege on the page, a practice participants may engage for reflection, exploration, healing, and teaching. 

Day 1 Sessions

Keynote: Haley

Presenter: Haley Moss


Haley Moss presents her P&PS Keynote Speech "GrantingAccess: Dismantling Ableism and Embracing Neurodiversity." Watch anytime or tune in on Zoom at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 10th to watch it with Haley Moss and the UAS community. Following the presentation, Haley Moss will host a Q&A session. 

Pre-recorded ContentWatch Video Keynote: Haley

9:30 a.m.  Keynote: Haley Moss Q&A Session

Presenter: Hosted by Juliette Alldredge


We'll watch the presentation starting LIVE via this Zoom link at 9:00 a.m. Or, If you've already watched Haley Moss present her P&PS Keynote Speech "Granting Access: Dismantling Ableism and Embracing Neurodiversity," join the UAS community for a Q&A with Haley Moss herself following the presentation.

10:00 a.m.  Red Cross: Confronting Power and Privilege When Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from Disasters.

Presenter: Britt (Britta) Tonnessen


Born from humanitarian concerns during times of war, the International Committee of the Red Cross; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; and the 191 national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have continually faced challenges relating to power and privilege in society. Experienced Southeast Alaska American Red Cross volunteers discuss how the Red Cross fundamental principles and values address these challenges and discuss some of the power and privilege issues facing clients and volunteers today as the American Red Cross pursues its mission to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies. 

11:00 a.m.  "The Walkers." A renaissance of indigenous culture in Peru

Presenters: Aaron Ebner & Dashiell Hillgartner


During the pandemic, Peru has experienced the largest internal migration the country has ever seen as a result of the government shutting down the economy, including all transportation. Peruvians, young and old, referred to as "The Walkers," are leaving urban areas on foot and traveling hundreds of miles to return to their ancestral communities. Here, they have begun working the land, enlisting in local leadership and are reinvigorating traditional agriculture practices creating an unexpected renaissance of indigenous culture in Peru. Have a conversation on food sovereignty, resilience, and sustainable agriculture and development in the indigenous communities of highland Peru.

Click here to watch a short film on this topic

1:00 p.m.  Hina Wong-Kalu Keynote Address and Q&A Session

Presenter: Hosted by Hina Wong-Kalu


Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu, also known as Kumu Hina will host a session where she shares her unique experiences dealing with Power & Privilege and how she's worked as an activist in her community to promote change. Hina Wong-Kalu is a Native Hawaiian māhū – a traditional third gender person who occupies "a place in the middle" between male and female – as well as a modern transgender woman.

2:00 p.m.  Picture a Scientist

Presenter: Dr. Lisa Hoferkamp


PICTURE A SCIENTIST, a film by Sharon Shattuck and Ian Cheney is available for viewing to Power & Privilege participants on Vimeo via the link provided, beginning at noon on Monday, 11/9/20, through noon on Thursday, 11/12/20. Watch this powerful film on your own timeline and/or device. A panel discussion among UAF Professor of Fisheries Shannon Atkinson, UAS Assistant Professor of Geology Sonia Nagorski and UAS Title IX Coordinator Romy McAdams and hosted by UAS Associate Professor of Chemistry Lisa Hoferkamp, will take place via Zoom on Tuesday 11/10/20 from 2 PM to 2:50 PM. The panel discussion will be interactive. Questions and comments from viewers are encouraged and anticipated.

PICTURE A SCIENTIST is a feature-length documentary film chronicling the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. A biologist, a chemist and a geologist lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, overcoming brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights to revolutionize the culture of science. From cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we also encounter scientific luminaries who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all.

This event has been made possible through financial support form the AK INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) group.P

Panel Members: Dr. Shannon Atkinson, UAF Professor of Fisheries, Dr. Sonia Nagorski, UAS Assistant Professor of Geology, Romee McAdams, UAS Title IX Coordinator, Office of Equity and Compliance

Click here to watch the video. Password: uas1120

3:00 p.m.  Adding Indigenous Content and Protecting Cultural Safety

Presenter: Dr. X̱ʼunei Lance Twitchell


This session examines ways to incorporate Indigenous content into courses, and gives an overview of current plans to increase access and familiarity to Indigenous voices and scholarship. In higher education, exclusion is often an inherited and learned practice when it comes to Indigenous voices and course materials, and our work should involve concerted efforts to undo Indigenous erasure and institutional racism. Programs in higher education should always be conscious of how they protect Cultural Safety and Equity, and this session will also cover methods to ensure that this is protected by educational policy and practice.

4:00 p.m.  Addressing Systemic Racism Together

Presenter: Haifa Foroughi


In this session, the Juneau Human Rights Commission is looking to add constructive ideas to the action items of a recently approved resolution addressing systemic racism and discrimination in the City and Borough of Juneau.Through breakout sessions, we seek to address the top three action items where quick application could make a change in the way the residents of Juneau can impact public policy.We argue that not all who are marginalized have a say, or feel as if they have a say, in the public policy for the City and Borough. Through this resolution we would like to empower marginalized communities to comment on and move the resolutions passed by the Assembly in a way that helps benefit their communities. With the help of invitees and attendees we hope to influence people who have felt left out, voiceless, and overlooked and hopefully empower those present, and with the ideas created, empower those who feel unheard.

5:00 p.m.  Stepping into the future, looking into the past (Suicide in Indigenous communities)

Presenter: Kootxheech Elizah Dominy


This session will be discussing suicide in Indigenous communities. We will be talking about intergenerational trauma, historical trauma, and how these impact Indigenous people’s today. Then we will move into suicide prevention tactics, and what that might look like in Indigenous communities.

If you are feeling triggered or you would like to speak to someone from our UAS Care Team, please reach out. We're here for you. In Zoom, you can privately chat Juliette Lowery or Evanne Gordon. By phone, call or text (864) 561-4739 to be connected with one of our on-call staff members.

Day 2 Sessions

9:00 a.m.  "When the Salmon Spoke" Storytellers' Panel Discussion

Presenters: UAS alumna Breanna Walker & Ryan Conarro (Moderator) & Tis Peterman & Kirby Muldoe & Frederick Olsen, Jr. & Heather Hardcastle


Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission and Ping Chong + Company, in collaboration with SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and Salmon Beyond Borders, presented the innovative and powerful digital production When the Salmon Spoke (WTSS) on May 31, 2020. This video, which features the captivating life stories of community members of the “transboundary” Stikine River watershed, connects inland Tahltan communities and coastal Tlingit and Haida communities of British Columbia and Alaska. Indigenous storytellers from When the Salmon Spoke, as well as the creative director and producer, will participate in a panel discussion moderated by another project collaborator. Using excerpts from the production, panelists will share their unique creative process and the realizations and connections it spurred for them and their communities. Panelists will also unveil the Indigenous-led, story-centered alliance that the collaborators are now forming to protect wild Pacific salmon and rivers--and the Indigenous ways of life sustained by and inseparable from them. 

To learn more about this video, please click here.

10:00 a.m.  Echoes of War: The power of voice in museum design

Presenter: Niko Sanguinetti


In June of 2020, the Juneau-Douglas City Museum opened their latest exhibit, "Echoes of War: Unangax Internment during WWII". It focuses on the forced removal and internment of Pribilovian Unangan at Funter Bay during WWII. This exhibit is the culmination of 2 years of work by a dedicated group of stakeholders across the state of Alaska. Organized by the JDCM, this group is mostly led by a group of Elders from St. Paul who worked closely with the museum curator to create an exhibit that told this story in their own words. This session will discuss the challenges and successes of working with groups personally connected to the exhibit material and the model we utilized to create "Echoes of War". Themes include stepping outside a traditional exhibit framework, creating and managing a group of stakeholders with differing opinions and backgrounds, and the goal of giving a voice to the families of those who were interned while creating an exhibit that appeals to a wide range of visitors.

Click here to watch the full presentation: Echoes of War. Presenter will provide a synopsis live, but you are encouraged to watch the full session at your convience. 

11:00 a.m.  Avoiding Echo Chambers, Confirmation Bias, and Mis/Disinformation Online

Presenter: Kaia Henrickson


As we increasingly rely on the Internet as the main access point for news and information, we also run the risk of falling prey to confirmation bias and mis/disinformation. Due to the personalization algorithms embedded in search engines and social media tools, we may find ourselves in an online echo chamber, where we are only exposed to points of view similar to our own. Today, many people also spend less time consuming news and information that has taken time to produce, relying on the "hot takes" and sensationalized headlines promoted on social media. The cumulative effect is feeding the polarization that plagues our society. In this program, we will look at how to take back control of your newsfeed and search results to avoid the echo chamber effect, and learn some simple strategies for identifying and avoiding misinformation while still staying informed about what is happening in our world.

Noon  Stories of Resilience: Alaska Native Student Transition and First Year Persistence in Higher Ed

Presenters: Valerie Svancara & Barbara Sikvayugak


With an overarching theme of resilience, get a glimpse into the experiences of what Alaska Native first year university students overcome and what keeps them going. Hear the voices of Alaska Native freshmen at UAA regarding what factors affected their transition and persistence and their suggested changes at the institutional level that can support students like themselves across the UA system.

Click here to watch their full video presentation. Presenters will provided a summary at the beginning of the session, but you are encouraged to watch the full session at your convinence. 

2:00 p.m.  Power of Sexuality

Presenter: Kelsey Gerke


Sex education does not currently include the needs of LGBTQ youth, and educating Alaskans is a much-needed effort in the fight for LGBTQ equity and inclusion. In the United States, LGBTQ youth have higher teen pregnancy and STI rates than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. There are many reasons for this, including: greater harassment, discrimination, and family rejection – leading to disproportionately poor sexual health outcomes. This highlights a wider discrepancy of power for people who identify in non-cisgendered ways. Knowledge of and use of pronouns, LGBTQ+ terminology, and a broad, multi-piece definition of sexuality deepens the conversation around power and privilege in society related to sexuality.  A large part of this session will be a reflective discussion of how sexuality can limit power or give power in sexual education, medical care in general, and the wider world of our society. Participants will walk away from this 60-minute interactive workshop with resources and tools to increase their inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community. This multi-platform workshop will include large group discussion, presentation, interactive poll, video, and take away digital resources. 

3:00 p.m.  Understanding Disaster & Resilience through the Lens of Power & Privilege

Presenter: Panel of Southeast Alaska organizations contributing towards sustainability in the region including Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of America, Fairweather Ski Works, and 350Juneau


The UAS Sustainability Committee will host and moderate a panel discussion composed of representatives from various Southeast Alaska organizations to discuss local and regional efforts to promote sustainability (broadly defined). Short (~5-min) introductions by all panelists will be followed by an open dialogue around these topics highlighting how different activities and actions can be understood through a lens of power and privilege. Panelists will be given a list of questions in advance that relate to this year’s Sustainability Committee theme, “Disaster and Resilience”. The discussion will be moderated by members of the Sustainability Committee and held live via Zoom.

4:00 p.m.  The Privilege to be Free from Addiction: How LGBTQ+ and African Americans are being targeted by Big Tobacco

Presenters: Justin Hansen & Sierra Palmer


Recent data shows 85% of Black adult smokers are smoking menthol cigarettes, similarly up to 51% of LGBTQ+ adult smokers are smoking menthol cigarettes. The banning of menthol cigarettes has been called a “Social Justice Issue Long Overdue” . Even with these facts, the targeting of minority groups by Big Tobacco is not well known. This presentation, through a series of interactive polls, audience feedback and other interactive elements, will show the deep history of Menthol cigarette use and how the Tobacco industry has targeted African Americans and LGBTQ+ people through a devious system of sponsorship, funding and brand promotion. This presentation will model youth-adult partnership, pulling together resources from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the National LGBT Cancer Network. Participants will learn how Big Tobacco’s strategies have led to a disproportionate addiction to menthol cigarettes in African American and LGBTQ+ communities. The health toll of this disparity will be presented. Finally, participants will be given action steps that they can take to combat this injustice.

5:00 p.m.  Rivers Through Green

Presenter: Michael Dickerson


I will explore power dynamics of gender, socioeconomic status, and culture through storytelling and dialogue. I will use as material my unpublished novella "Rivers Through Green", which addresses these issues through layered interpretation from multiple perspectives. I will make my manuscript available as a link in my symposium description, so that those interested in attending can read it ahead of time. I hope that approaching the topic of power dynamics through literature will extend the empathetic horizons of symposium attendees to include new perspectives. I hope that as a result, attendees will be able and motivated to engage in debate that represents a variety of perspectives. Read Rivers Through Green

Keynote Speakers

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu is a Native Hawaiian māhū - a traditional third gendered person who “occupies a place in the middle.” As a modern transgender woman, Wong-Kalu is an activist, kumu hula (hula teacher), film maker, and community leader. 

Wong-Kalu was born in the Nuʻuanu district of Oʻahu. She was a founder of the Kulia Na Mamo transgender health project, cultural director of a Hawaiian public charter school, and candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one of the first transgender candidates for statewide political office in the United States. She also served as the Chair of the Oʻahu Island Burial Council, which oversees the management of Native Hawaiian ancestral burial sites. She is a recipient of the National Education Association Ellison Onizuka Human and Civil Rights Award, Native Hawaiian Community Educator of the year, and a White House Champion of Change. USA Today named Wong-Kalu one of ten Women of the Century from Hawai'i. 

Haley Moss

Haley Moss

Haley Moss was diagnosed with autism at age 3 and made international headlines for becoming the first documented openly autistic attorney admitted to The Florida Bar. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2018, and graduated from the University of Florida in 2015 with Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminology.

Student Speakers

Elizah Dominy

Elizah Dominy

Elizah Dominy, also known by her Tlingit name as Kootxheech, is a student government senator on campus. Elizah has been involved in many clubs on campus in the past and this semester has been participating in the club wooch.een. She was born and raised in Seattle Washington where she connected with her Indigenous community through many youth councils and leadership groups. Elizah came to UAS in hopes of learning her ancestral language and is currently in her second year here. 

Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen

Justin Hansen is a born and raised Alaska and ambassador for both the Campaign for Tobacco Free kids and Youth Encouraging Alaskans Health (YEAH). He has co-hosted the YEAH summit, discussed legislation with representatives, as well as taught elementary, middle school and high school students the negative effects of youth tobacco use.

Michael Dickerson, UAS M.A.T Student

Dickerson is a composer, writer, and educator based in Anchorage, Alaska. He sees art as a means of connecting with people, understanding them, and being understood by them--an interaction in response to one another and the place we live

Michael's engagement in discussions of power dynamics began during his undergraduate degree in music and philosophy at Middlebury College. There he met writer Julia Alvarez and her partner Bill Eichner, who invited him to spend a year working with Finca Altagracia on humanitarian, community-building projects in the Dominican Republic. His experiences as a volunteer aid worker in rural Caribbean coffee fields, as well as his studies in Chile and his travels in Argentina and Colombia, inspired him to write a novella, Rivers Through Green, which deals with power and privilege as a central theme.

As an educator, Michael Dickerson co-founded a youth arts education program called The Northern Pen with author/professor Matthew Dickerson and artist/educator Hollis Mickey. Their creative sessions opened artistic dialogue on people's relationship with place through interdisciplinary creative practice. It ran for three years from 2017-2019, offering creative sessions to the international student community at East High School in Anchorage, as well as to several students from Eagle River and the "lower 48". Michael is currently pursuing an M.A.T. in Elementary Education at U.A.S. in order to better serve his community.

Michael is also a composer of music. His music has been performed by Cuarteto Garany Romanov, Giovanni Scarpetta Diaz, Karl Keldermans, University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band One, members of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra as part of the ARTic Convergence series, and by Michael Dickerson himself at events held by Anchorage Museum and as an employee of Holland America Princess. He is a recipient of a 2020 Rasmuson Individual Artist Award and 2015 and 2016 UNI Graduate Symposium Awards, and an honorary 2015 artist in residence of the Trombonists' Association of Colombia. Michael is also a board member ex officio of Northern Culture Exchange, where he helps organize Spenard JazzFest and advises Anchorage Music Coop

UAS Staff & Faculty Speakers

Kaia Henrickson

Kaia Henrickson is the Information Literacy Librarian at UAS, where she teaches students how to conduct research, evaluate sources, and think critically about information. She has a Masters in Library and Information Science as well as a Masters in Teaching, and she has worked in education and libraries for almost 20 years.

Dashiell Hillgartner, UAS Academic Exchange and Study Abroad Coordinator

Dashiell Hillgartner, UAS Academic Exchange and Study Abroad Coordinator

In 2016, Dashiell Hillgartner completed his graduate degree while working on a project with the AASD. The impact of this experience and deep connection with the organization continues to influence and guide his career in international education. Dash currently lives in Juneau, Alaska where he works as the Academic Exchange & Study Abroad Coordinator for the University of Alaska Southeast. Having lived and worked in Chile, Costa Rica, Spain, Peru, and rural Alaska, Dash has become a passionate advocate for hands-on, place-based education programs as a method to foster learning and relationships between communities around the world. In addition to the University of Alaska, Dash works on the National Student Exchange Diversity & Equity Committee and, in the winter, as an Adaptive Ski Guide. Outside of work, Dash spends his time with his family and dogs hiking, fishing, and planning trips.

Community Speakers

Corinna Cook

Corinna Cook

Corinna Cook is the author of Leavetakings, a lyric essay collection about northern sorrows and friendships. Born and raised in Juneau, Corinna holds degrees from Pomona College and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and she earned a PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Missouri. Her essays appear in Flyway, Alaska Quarterly Review, Alaska Magazine, and others; her scholarly work appears in New Writing: The International Journal for the Theory of Creative Writing, and Assay: Journal of Nonfiction Studies; she writes about teaching for Pedagogy and American Literary Studies; and her freelance work appears in Yukon North of Ordinary and is forthcoming in Studies in American Indian Literature. Supported by a 2018-2019 Fulbright Fellowship, a 2018 Alaska Literary Award, and a 2020 Project Award from the Rasmuson Foundation, Corinna is currently writing an ekphrastic essay collection. It looks at Alaska and Yukon artwork, goes out on the land, and searches for ways to live with colonial history.

Aaron Ebner, Executive Director and Founder of The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development

Aaron Ebner, Executive Director and Founder of The Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development

Aaron has been leading the organization since 2010. Most days you can find him supporting the amazing Agriculture and Experiential Learning team here at the AASD. Aaron first started coming to Peru to work for the Becky Fund in 2006 working on construction projects at schools. In grad school at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS), Adam Stieglitz and Aaron founded a student group called Team Peru and hosted grad students to work on projects in farming communities for two years. Adam and Aaron moved to Peru after graduating from MIIS with the dream of starting an innovative organization. Aaron and Adam shared a bedroom with their dog Leroy and worked out of a dinning room for years building the foundation of what the organization is today. Aaron is beyond proud of this organization and he is a happy man living and working in rural Peru. He loves working at the farm, surfing, reading, and spending time with his family.

Ryan Conarro

Ryan Conarro

Ryan Conarro is an interdisciplinary artist who creates and facilitates multi-platform story-sharing experiences, from live performance events, to audio installations and podcasts, to community story websites.  
Tis Peterman

Tis Peterman

Tis Peterman is a lifelong resident of Wrangell, AK, situated at the mouth of the Stikine River, is Tlingit of the Raven moiety, and is a Kaach.adi Clanmember. 
Kirby Muldoe

Kirby Muldoe

Kirby Muldoe (Hup Wil Lax A) is of Tsimsian and Gitxsan descent, has been an activist for the environment for most of his life, and is the Indigenous Engagement Specialist for SkeenaWild Conservation Trust based in Terrace, B.C.
Frederick Olsen, Jr.

Frederick Olsen, Jr.

Frederick Olsen, Jr. [K'yuuhlgáansii (“Place of one’s own”)] is Haida of the Sgajuuga.ahl Clan, Eagle moiety with Beaver, Frog, and Sculpin crests, and is Executive Director of Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission.
Heather Hardcastle

Heather Hardcastle

Heather Hardcastle, Advisor to Salmon Beyond Borders based in Juneau, AK, has spent her adult life advocating for wild Pacific salmon rivers, and lives on Pomo ancestral lands in northern California and in Lingit Aani, near the Taku River.
Kelsey Gerke

Kelsey Gerke

Kelsey Gerke is a born and raised Alaskan working as a community outreach educator for Planned Parenthood with 14 years of classroom teaching experience. Providing medically accurate sexual health information in an inclusive and authentic way is a professional and personal passion. Outside of work, Kelsey is a mother, an outdoor enthusiast, and fiber artist.

Niko Sanguinetti

Niko Sanguinetti is the Curator of Collections and Exhibits at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. She is mainly responsible for the creation, development, installation, and desinstallation of museum exhibits as well as the care and maintenance of the museum collections. Niko earned her BA in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz and earned her MLitt in Museums Studies from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. Prior to her role at the City Museum she served as an Interpretive Specialist at the California State Indian Museum and Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park.

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