14th Annual Naiits Symposium Header

14th Annual NAIITS Symposium

The purpose of the symposium is to facilitate open dialogue about various aspects of biblical and theological contextualization in Indigenous thought, history, and experience. Symposium planners hope that participants will bring together academic and practical approaches to the issues being addressed in the symposium.

The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was many years in the crafting. Many Indigenous people spent decade’s worth of time seeking to declare in contemporary terms what their ancestors and now they already knew: we were present and had purpose in the land – one that significantly predates colonial incursions.

During this year’s symposium, we propose to explore together, Indigenous presence and purpose; to seek to understand historic rights and traditional responsibilities of Indigenous peoples in and for the land; to seek to articulate how settler and Indigenous peoples can implement the UNDRIP declaration in their communities and churches.


June 1, 3:00 pm beginning with registration through to the closing ceremonies Saturday June 3rd at 4:00 pm. Friday evening will have a special singular focus this year. 


George Fox University, 414 N Meridian St, Newberg, OR 97132, USA


Andrea Carmen

Andrea Carmen headshot

"Unpacking the UN Declaration"

Andrea Carmen, Yaqui Nation, has been a staff member of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) since 1983 and IITC’s Executive Director since 1992. Andrea has many years of experience working as a human rights trainer and observer around the world, and was IITC’s team leader for work on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 1997, she was one of two Indigenous representatives invited to formally address the UN General Assembly for the first time in history at the UN Earth Summit +5. In 2006, Andrea was a Rapporteur for the UN “Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources and their Relationship to Land”, the first time an Indigenous woman had been selected to serve as a Rapporteur for an UN Expert Seminar. Andrea has been an expert presenter at a significant number of UN bodies and seminars addressing a host of topics related to Indigenous peoples and their rights. Since 2010, Andrea has served on the Indigenous Peoples Global Steering Committee for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since 2009, which coordinates IITC’s International Work at the UNFCCC.

Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce, PhD

Alexandra Pierce headshot

"Indigenous Women, Trafficking and a Way Forward"

Dr. Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce is an applied sociologist of Seneca and Pennsylvania Dutch descent. She is the principal investigator and author of Shattered Hearts, the first research report ever published in the United States on the commercial sexual exploitation of American Indian girls and women. Sandi holds Master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Sociology and is founder and President of Othayonih Research, an independent applied research and evaluation consulting firm. She is a domestic sex trafficking survivor-leader and currently serves on Shared Hope’s JuST (Juvenile Sex Trafficking) Council of Experts. For the past 15 years, Sandi’s work has focused exclusively on exposing and addressing the domestic sex trafficking of American Indian, Alaska Native, and other girls of color.