The use of Native American mascots in the 21st century will be the focus of a talk by Native American activist, artist, educator and lecturer Charlene Teters, as part of Cal State San Bernardino’s Conversations on Diversity series, presented by the University Diversity Committee, on Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Teter’s talk is co-sponsored by the university’s Native American Speaker Series in celebration of Native American Heritage Month and will be from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the university’s Santos Manuel Student Union.

CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales said the campus was privileged to have Teters return to speak to the university family again. Last April, Teters inaugurated the CSUSB Native American Speaker Series.

“At a time when there is so much conflict in our society involving race, culture and identity, Ms. Teters’ message is both relevant and inspiring,” Morales said. “For more than 30 years, she has actively fought the use of Native American mascots and other imagery in sports.”

Teters established the Racial Justice Office at the National Congress of American Indians and is a founding board member of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media (NCRSM). The television documentary “In Whose Honor?” focuses on her efforts involving the University of Illinois, its mascot and accompanying issues of racism, stereotypes, minority representation and the effect of mass-media imagery.

“Today, I am an active artist and exhibit internationally,” Teters said in her website. “By creating multimedia installations that examine the social presumptions and portrayals of Indian people in pop culture and media, my artwork expresses my personal and political views about America’s dehumanization of Indian Peoples.” 

Teters has held solo exhibitions of her work since 1992. She was the first artist-in-residence at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her awards include the Allen House Memorial Award / New Mexico Governors Award, Person of the Week in 1997 for ABC World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and the Chalmers Memorial Award from the American Civil Liberties Union. The award-winning documentary by Jay Rosenstein, “In Whose Honor?” provides a history of her work.

She is academic dean at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), has also held positions at the Ohio State University and as the Hugh O. LaBounty Endowed Chair at the California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. 

A member of the Spokane Tribe, she has an Associate of Fine Arts from IAIA, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College of Santa Fe, a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Mitchell College, New London, Connecticut. Additional information about Teters can be found on her website at

“Often, people think about Native Americans as we were envisioned at the turn of the century. If we’re not walking around in buckskin and fringe, mimicking the stereotype in dress and art form, we’re not seen as real,” Teters said. “Native Americans are here, and we are contemporary people, yet we are very much informed and connected to our history.”

For accommodations and more information, please contact Twillea Evans-Carthen at (909) 537-3103.