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UB Historian to Present Keynote Address at University of New Mexico Medical School Commencement

Seneca historian, legal scholar also involved in "slow foods" movement

Release Date: April 17, 2002

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Seneca historian John Mohawk, associate professor and co-director of the University at Buffalo Center for the Americas, will present the keynote address at the 34th annual commencement of the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and School of Medicine on May 10.

The invitation was extended by Paul B. Roth, M.D., dean of the UNM School of Medicine, after he heard Mohawk address the relationship between degenerative disease and highly processed foods on National Public Radio.

Mohawk, who is director of indigenous studies with UB's Center for the Americas, often has addressed in his writings the relationship between the global culture's treatment of indigenous peoples and its treatment of the earth's environment.

He is a proponent of the international slow-foods movement, which promotes the reintroduction of slowly digested, often ancient, foods as a means of fighting heart and circulatory disease, tooth decay, obesity and especially diabetes, which is rampant in many native communities.

The UNM School of Medicine is among the top-ranked medical schools in the U.S., particularly noted for its training of primary-care physicians and for its outstanding family and rural medicine programs. The school has a number of health-care projects that address New Mexico's underserved native population.

Mohawk serves on the Seneca Nation Planning Commission and its Investment Committee, is a member of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy Grand Council and has represented the nation in negotiations to end conflicts in Columbia and Iran.

He is the editor of the news magazine Daybreak and founder and former editor of the journal Akwasasne Notes, both of which have won journalistic awards. His books include "Exiled in the Land of the Free" co-authored with Oren Lyons, UB professor of American studies; "A Basic Call to Consciousness" and "The Red Buffalo."

He has contributed essays to many books and journals on Native American culture including The Native Americas Journal and for decades -- long before the genesis of the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Association it spawned -- has spoken out on the crisis of globalization and against the homogenization of indigenous cultures and maximum commodity accumulation.

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