Native activist first to speak in Writers Project series

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October 01, 2021

QUEENSBURY, New York (Oct. 1, 2021) — While presenting at a college, John Kane was asked if he lives in a tepee.

“I like to challenge audiences and offer a bit of perspective that makes them rethink how they have characterized natives — our ceremonies, festivals and some of the basic things we do that are part of our culture,” said Kane, a prominent pundit for Native issues.

Kane is the first speaker in SUNY Adirondack’s 2021 Writers Project, which brings to the college a variety of literary voices. He will present at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 4, in SUNY Adirondack’s Visual Arts Gallery in Dearlove Hall. 

Kane is a Mohawk from Kahnawake who graduated from Cambridge Central High School. Throughout his life, he has defended Native sovereignty and autonomy. He has tackled taxation, state and federal regulatory issues, and social and environmental issues including mascots, missing indigenous women, land use and claims, pipelines and more. 

“The first thing people do is check Google to see if I’m lying to them,” Kane said of many of his presentations, which include evidence of events few are taught in history books. “‘How can this be?,’ they say, and this is what’s missing from history. I just want to balance it and apply some kind of understanding of what the Native American experience is.”

His work as a radio show host (“Resistance Radio” is carried by WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City and WPFW 89.3 FM in Washington, D.C.) and podcaster (his “Let’s Talk Native with John Kane” is available on all major podcast platforms) has led to his being a sought-after authority on issues facing Natives. 

Additional talks in the Writers Project series include Robert Levy on speculative fiction Oct. 18; poet and artist JoAnne McFarland on Nov. 4; and Khristeena Lute on the role of research in fiction Dec. 6.

“The Writers Project has been running on campus now for more than 20 years,” said Nancy White, distinguished professor of English at SUNY Adirondack and director of the Writers Project. “It allows us to bring a tremendous variety of talent to campus, and our students love the experience of meeting authors up close, hearing their works in their own voices, and getting to ask them questions.”

The series offers an opportunity for insight about timely topics that are at the center of SUNY Adirondack’s commitment to diversity and enrichment.

“We always try to bring in authors who would interest students from a range of majors, from Criminal Justice to Science to Early Childhood Education,” White said. “John Kane will appeal to students learning about broadcasting, history and politics, as well as to writers.”

Kane has spoken at universities throughout the United States, as well as at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the United Nations.

Admission to the Writers Project is free and open to the public. Masks must be worn at all times by all visitors. 

About SUNY Adirondack
SUNY Adirondack is a community college with a growing campus that is part of the nation’s largest university, the State University of New York. With locations in Queensbury, Glens Falls and Wilton, SUNY Adirondack offers courses in person and online; on-campus housing at the Queensbury campus; and serves students via credit and continuing education programs.