Native American attorney Walter Echo Hawk, a member of the Pawnee Tribe, will deliver the 2017 Pilster Conference Lecture at Chadron State College on Sept. 28. “Nebraska Before Nebraska: Our Pawnee Homeland” is the topic for the talk, which is sponsored by the Mari Sandoz Heritage Society. The free event will be held in the college Student Union at 7:30 p.m.

The annual conference convenes Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center on the CSC campus and celebrates Nebraska’s sesquicentennial. Nebraska State Poet Twyla M. Hansen will be reading from her published works and from new compositions in honor of Nebraska’s 150th statehood anniversary. Steven Rolfsmeier, director of the Herbarium at Chadron State College, will discuss “Plants of Nebraska.” This year’s Sandoz Research Award recipient Robert Roy Foresman will present “Mother’s Joy: Early 20th Century Technological Innovations on the Great Plains.”

Shortly before her death in 1966, Mari Sandoz made some astounding predictions of what life would be like in 2017. They were included in a recently opened time capsule. A panel of dignitaries will be encapsulating their own projections about what the future holds for Nebraska and the new time capsule will be buried near the Sandoz statue outside the Sandoz Center.

Afternoon sessions begin at 1:30 p.m. with a talk by Sandoz Board member and retired history professor John Wunder of Lincoln. He’ll discuss the 1957 and 2017 Time Capsules and Sandoz. His talk, “Mari Sandoz and Her 1956 Fifty-Year Predictions” places her writing in the context of her life in New York City and the peak of her writing productivity (four books published and two others prepped) from 1953-1957. She also learned she had cancer, survived the death of two close friends and a devastating fire in her apartment.

Board member Deb Carpenter Nolting of Bushnell begins the activity for the remainder of the afternoon with a discussion of the time capsule contents and guiding the audience to make their own predictions. She will be joined by board member Craig Larson of Scottsbluff and panelists Martin Gilmore, Jovan Mays, Donette Lone Hill, Mercedes Iron Cloud and David Nesheim. Nationally recognized poet Mays will lead a writing workshop to direct participants to write their own predictions.

Nebraska 150 committee member Becky Herian, Mays, singer songwriter Martin Gilmore , Lone Hill, Iron Cloud and board member Ron Hull of Lincoln will speak at the time capsule burial.

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The time capsule burial is a Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission recognized Legacy Project and is free and open to the public at 3:30 pm. The Pilster Lecture is made possible by an endowment gift from the late Esther Pilster of Dawes County ranchland in honor of her late husband Raleigh who grew up there with his parents John and Grace Pilster. Esther, a teacher and school administrator for 44 years, lived in Omaha.

Conference registration is required for Friday morning and afternoon conference sessions. Visit www.marisandoz.org for details.

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