The keynotes for NAI 2023 will be Minnijean Brown Trickey and Spirit Tawfiq.
The opening keynote will be provided by Minnijean Brown Trickey, one of the nine African American students who collectively resisted opposition to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957, with protection from federal troops.
Spirit Tawfiq will provide the closing keynote. Spirit is a creative changemaker, antiracism educator and founder of Roots of the Spirit, an organization created to uproot racism through storytelling, education, and the arts.
The city selected for the 2023 NAI National Conference was built on land formerly occupied by Quapaw natives, and perhaps earlier Plum Bayou natives. European trappers, traders, and settlers traveled up a large river (later to be known as the Arkansas River) looking for resources and trading partnerships with the Quapaw and other groups occupying the river’s valley. Travelers used “French Rock” (also known as La Grande Roche) on the north bank and La Petite Roche on the south bank as landmarks.
The capital of Arkansas, Little Rock, was founded in 1831 on the south bank and is now home to over 200,000 residents. Visitors to this city are often surprised at the bustling downtown area located along the banks of the Arkansas River. Modern walking paths, sculpture gardens, six pedestrian bridges crossing the river, and a host of natural, history, and cultural museums provide a feeling of inclusion and welcome.