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Cultural Migration:
Displacement and Renewal

September 8–9, 2017



Cultural Migration: Displacement and Renewal

Symposium on Immigration and Resettlement in the Buffalo-Niagara Region of New York

September 8–9, 2017
The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University, Niagara Falls, NY


⇒ ⇒See More Photos from the Symposium

On September 8 and 9, 2017, The New York Folklore Society and the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University hosted a Roundtable Discussion and Symposium to explore issues of immigration and resettlement in the context of Western New York. This two-day participatory program included panel discussions that showcased the area’s innovative responses to cultural sharing and accommodation, a workshop for artists, music, and dance performances, exhibitions, and participatory art experiences. Themes of the Roundtable Symposium included micro-enterprise in community settings, place making through food, language, and changing neighborhood identities, responses to migration, and public and community health care.

Events kicked off on Friday, September 8, 2017, with a reception that included musical and dance performances by members of Buffalo’s newcomer communities.


Saturday, September 9, 2017 began with a traditional Thanksgiving Address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation, followed by Roundtable sessions examining place making through mechanisms of neighborhood revitalization, food, education, and language. Place Making: Changing Neighborhood Identities panelists included Thaw Yee and Daniel Leong of the Karen Society of Buffalo, Amelia Blake of Explore and More Children’s Museum, Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation, and Pat Standish of Community Action for Wyoming County. Place Making through Food and Language included presentations by Elizabeth Bloom of Hartwick College, Ramin Ganesram, food journalist, and Julie Tay of the Mencius Society for the Arts.

Christina Pope, Regional Director for Welcoming America provided a plenary address at 11:30–12:30, sharing Welcoming America’s three-pronged model for successfully bridging divides between immigrants and longer-term residents in “receiving” communities. Launched in 2009, the non-profit Welcoming America has spurred a growing movement across the United States, with one in eight Americans living in a Welcoming Community. Their award-winning, social entrepreneurship model is predicated on assisting communities to create and articulate principles for inclusion.

The afternoon sessions focused upon Micro-Enterprise with panelists Dawne Hoeg of Stitch Buffalo, Ma Theint and Michelle Holler of WEDI/West Side Bazaar, and Dr. Mirza Tihic of Syracuse University, providing a glimpse of innovative approaches to entrepreneurship in New York State. This was followed by a session on Health Challenges and Initiatives, with participation by Laura Trolio of the New York Department of Health, Gamileh Jamil of ACCESS WNY, and Michael Martin of Native American Community Services, and moderated by Wilfredo Morel of Hudson River Health Care.

Participants were then provided free transportation via the Discover Niagara Shuttle to experience art experiences in community venues. The program ended with a closing address by Bryan Printup of the Tuscarora Nation.


Download Conference Flyer

Seen on the NYFS Facebook page:

“Such an excellent group of speakers today, thanks Ellen McHale, Tom van Buren, Ed Millar, Christine F. Zinni, and all associated with this gathering! Many new ideas came forward, and new inspirations!! I loved how local native cultural leaders were so much a part of this. Thank you all!”—Lynne W.

Funding by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by Humanities New York.



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