November 04, 2014

SIU marks Native American Heritage month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November with a variety of special events, guest speakers and presentations. 

Joy Harjo, a member of the Myskoke (Creek) Nation and Native American poet, will speak at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 5, in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library.  A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harjo has written a variety of poetry collections, including “The Woman Who Fell From the Sky,” “How We Became Human,” “She Had Some Horses” and “Secrets from the Center of the World.” She is also the author of children’s and memoir books. 

Harjo will read some of her works and share her story with the audience.  A reception and book signing will follow.   

The film, “Powwow Highway,” is at 6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10, in the Student Center’s Thebes Room. The film is the story of the struggles Native Americans in the north central United States experience trying to remain independent and financially solvent while retaining their culture. 

Several interesting discussions are planned during the month. Barney Bush, a Shawnee Native American poet and board chair for the Vinyard Indian Settlement in Herod, will discuss “Language as Environmental Ceremony” at 6 p.m., Nov. 12, in the Student Center’s Illinois Room.  Derrick Williams, assistant director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence and coordinator of the Black Resource Center, will present “Native American Heritage:  Jim Thorpe -- Greatest American Athlete” at 7 p.m., Nov. 13, in Lawson Hall, Room 141. 

Melinda Yeomans, coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center, will lecture on “The Life and Wisdom of Chief Seattle” at 4 p.m., Nov. 17, in the Student Center’s Kaskaskia Room. On Nov. 18, Mark Denzer, acting director of the Vinyard Indian Settlement, will present, “Perspectives in Native American History of Southern Illinois.” 

The final event of the month will feature Marsha Forrest, a registered nurse of Mohawk ancestry raised on the Six Nations Reservation in Ontario, Canada. She will discuss “Healing the Sacred Hoop with Good Medicine” at 6 p.m., Nov. 19, in the Student Center’s Saline Room. 

All Native American Heritage Month events are free and open to the public.  The complete event schedule is being finalized and the full calendar will soon be available at For more information about the month or the Center for Inclusive Excellence, call 618/453-3740.