Author, Speaker, Lawyer and Storyteller
Gyasi Ross is first and foremost a father, an uncle, and a big brother. Professionally, he is an essayist and writer, poet, speaker and lawyer. Through a life of service, listening and living within Native communities, Gyasi profoundly understands the needs of his people and has dedicated his life to forging change within his communities.…
Gyasi Ross is first and foremost a father, an uncle, and a big brother. Professionally, he is an essayist and writer, poet, speaker and lawyer. Through a life of service, listening and living within Native communities, Gyasi profoundly understands the needs of his people and has dedicated his life to forging change within his communities. Whether taking a more nuanced perspective on the Redskins controversy, encouraging self-worth in the community or defending the civil rights of those who can’t fight for themselves, part of Gyasi’s mission is raising the profile of the reservation populace, often viewed with ignorance as a shadowy world, as well as instilling a sense of pride amongst the people.
Ross, who has written for Huffington Post, Indian Country Today, Deadspin and Gawker, as well as appeared on various talk shows and news programs, confesses that although he wasn’t always the best student when he was younger, he was still a smart kid. “I was seen as very intelligent, but underachieving,” Ross recalls. “My family just didn’t have a history or legacy of educational attainment, so I wasn’t really concerned with trying to get good grades or what I was going to do after high school.” Yet, despite his early educational struggles (he attended six colleges, including two tribal colleges, before graduating from Columbia Law School), Gyasi continued in the family business of working within the community and telling his people’s stories.
Gyasi released his second book, How to Say I Love You in Indian, in early 2014. “I come from a family of storytellers. My family tells long stories, drinking coffee and blowing smoke in your face. It just fit for me to tell stories, and then I started writing them. My standard for writing stories is, if I can’t explain it to my niece or nephew, or my grandpa who dropped out of school then I need to understand this topic better. People have a love affair with over-academicizing things.”
Working relentlessly, traveling constantly and always believing in his mission, Ross isn’t looking for praise or accolades, he just wants for things to be right with the complex world of the Indian nations. “Gratification is internal and I’m comfortable with that,” Ross says, “I’m just trying to figure out how to help my folks.”
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Indian Education vs. Indigenous Education
Don’t Know Much About Indians? Contemporary Native America in Focus
Native Rules of Standing and Invisibility: Derrick Bell Revisited
Breakdances With Wolves: When Hip-Hop Came to Indian Country
Black History Month, Indian-Style: Natives and Black Folks in This Together Since 1492
Survival Art: Creating codes for survival
Trauma: Moving past describing the water
Gyasi Ross keynote NAIS People of Color Conference
Coming Together Speaker Series: Gyasi Ross
1 HOUR OR LESS