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Barbara Bilek a graduate student at the University Oklahoma, will deliver East Central University’s Rothbaum Lecture on Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Center of the Bill S. Cole University Center.

The title of the lecture is “The Holy Grail of Being Indian, Exploring Federal and State Recognition Through the Lens of Indian Identity”

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Bilek earned a B.A. in Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2010, an M.A. in history/museum studies from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2013 and master of legal studies in Indigenous People’s Law from OU Law in 2015.

She is currently pursuing a doctorate in history at OU, focusing on the history of Federal Indian Law.

Her research interests include Native American history, Federal Indian Law and Native American Museums and Cultural Centers. She currently teaches courses in museum studies, administrative leadership and academic writing for the College of Liberal Studies at OU.

Bilek has received numerous awards such as the 2016 Kenneth E. Crook Faculty Achievement Award for the OU College of Liberal Studies, the Fall 2014 Provost’s Certificate of Distinction for Outstanding Graduate Assistant Teaching at OU and a second-place award for her Graduate Student Research Presentation at the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference in 2012.

She has also made special presentations for “Decolonizing Museums, a Study of the Evolution of Museums in the 21st Century” at the OU College of Law in 2014 and “Decolonizing the Histories of Helen Hunt Jackson and Gertrude Simmons Bonnin” at both the University of Central Oklahoma Research Day in 2013 and at the Mountain Plains Museum Association Annual Conference in 2012.

In 2016, Bilek also presented at the Princeton University Native Testimony Conference in 2016.

Bilek is scheduled to meet with various student groups that day on campus including: Native American Studies students and history majors.

The Rothbaum Lecture is funded through an endowment established by the late Julian Rothbaum with a $25,000 gift to the ECU Foundation, Inc. that was matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He also established an endowment to fund the George Nigh Award for ECU’s top graduating senior.

Rothbaum, who lived in Tulsa, was a longtime leader in Oklahoma civic affairs, a 1986 inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and a former member of the Oklahoma State Regents for High Education and the University of Oklahoma Regents.

For more information on the Rothbaum Lecture, contact Dr. Scott Barton at or 580-559-5563.

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