October 26, 2007

November is Native American Heritage Month at SIUC

by Christi Mathis


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. – A plethora of special events marks Native American Heritage Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in November.

"Native American Heritage Month is an important reminder of the diverse histories of indigenous peoples in both this state and this country," said Anthony K. Webster, assistant professor in the anthropology department and member of the Native American Heritage Month committee. "But it is also a reminder of their continued presence and importance in contemporary American society. Native Americans are not merely part of this state and country's history; they are important contemporaries as well. We all do well in celebrating and acknowledging that fact."

Activities allow participants to hear a number of informative and enlightening guest speakers, enjoy Native American poetry and food and much more.

"November's Native American Heritage Month provides the SIUC community the opportunity to learn more about the past and present of America's original inhabitants and their cultures," said Carl Ervin, coordinator of SIUC Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services. "It is a fantastic opportunity to enhance our understanding of the similarities and differences that we all share and to grow as intellectually well-rounded and socially conscious individuals."

All Native American Heritage Month activities are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

The schedule of events includes:

Oct. 30-Nov. 6

• Native American Heritage Month Display on the first floor of the student center.

Now through Nov. 16

• Guatemalan Textiles display at the University Museum in Faner Hall.

Thursday, Nov. 1

• 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.- Native American Heritage Month Kick-off featuring Maza Napin, also known as Iron Necklace, with American Indian dance and drumming exhibition. Lunch from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. will feature meat dishes prepared with bison from a local farm. Residents can use their meal plan. Guests may purchase meal tickets at the door for $6. Lentz Dining Hall.

• 5-7 p.m. – Free Indian tacos, in limited supplies. American Indian dance and drumming exhibition by Maza Napin (Iron Necklace). Also, Clifton and Kim Howell of Bison Bluff Farms will answer questions about bison and its significance to native people. A U-Card event. Grinnell Hall.

Monday, Nov. 5

• 7 p.m. – Noted spiritual leader Mike Vargas (Chichimeca) will tell of the importance of the individual's role in the circle and how it's vital to their Creator connection and using the Lakota Sundance and Inipi, as examples will talk of the responsibility of communities and individuals in keeping ceremonies alive. A traditional ceremonial drum will demonstrate the differences between Powwow songs and ceremonial songs. Illinois Room on the second floor of the Student Center.

Tuesday, Nov. 6

• 7 p.m. – Sherwin Bitsui (Diné) with contemporary Native American Poetry including readings from his book "Shapeshift" and more recent works. He'll also discuss the importance of poetry in Native American education and identity. Originally from the White Cone, Ariz. Navajo Reservation, A Diné of the Tocich'ii'nii (Bitter Water Clan) and borne of the Tl'zilani (Many Goats Clan), he currently resides in Tucson, Ariz. A U-card event in the Ohio Room on the second floor of the Student Center.

Wednesday, Nov. 7

• 4 p.m. – "Hearsay or Indigenous Knowledge?: Contesting Indian Identity and Land Claims in Western Oregon, 1919-1938," presented by Gray H. Whaley, SIUC history professor. He presents from his collaboration with George Wasson of the Coquille Indian Tribe regarding Indian land claims against the United States in the first half of the 20th century and fundamental questions about the legitimacy of indigenous knowledge and Indian identity raised by the western Oregon case. Whaley argues that American colonialism undermined Native legal efforts with federal Indian policies and bureaucratic practices contradicting the liberal individualist premises of the U.S. Court of Claims. Courtrooms in the United States, New Zealand and Canada have heard related cases and legal questions in the last century. Mackinaw Room on the Student Center's second floor.

Thursday, Nov. 8

• 7 p.m. – Mark Denzer (Choctaw), a therapeutic recreation specialist and coordinator for the Trails of Awareness Project, presents "Cultural Implication of Recreational Use of Sacred Lands." He'll explore cultural implications of multi-recreational use of sacred sites and the resulting conflicts, define and give examples of these sites, and discuss cross-cultural dialogue, communication and why site preservation is important to everyone. Illinois Room on second floor of Student Center.

Monday, Nov. 12

• Noon – "Tséyi' First, Because Navajo Language Was Here Before Contact: Performing Navajoness in Illinois," by Anthony K. Webster, SIUC anthropology assistant professor. He'll analyze portions of a poetry performance by Navajo poet Laura Tohe to a Carbondale non-Navajo audience. In analyzing her talk of the Navajo language uses and her actual uses of the language in performance, he'll question if she presents an idealized image of those using the Navajo language and how her use of Navajo language place names reveals how she connects her performance to large concerns about Navajo claims to place. Illinois Room at Student Center.

Tuesday, Nov. 13

• 7 p.m. – "Blossoms of Fire," presentation of film about women in Mexico's Juchitan tribe celebrating a culture, rooted in a strong work ethic and fierce independent streak producing powerful women, progressive regional politics and unusual tolerance of alternative gender roles. Discussion follows. Illinois Room at Student Center.

Wednesday, Nov. 14

• 7 p.m. – "Christian Images Challenge Cherokee Spirituality: Early 19th Century Moravian Visitors, The Little Broom, The Bird, and The Flea," by Rowena McClinton (Cherokee), associate professor of history at SIUE. McClinton uses the work of diarist Anna Rosina Gambold to discuss how the dissimilar Cherokee and Moravian cultures formed crucial relationships from their cultures. For instance, while most Cherokees didn't convert to Christianity, the Moravian presence challenged their curiosity and provoked interest in the Moravian worldview. Emphasizing the 20-year period prior to the forced removal of the Cherokee 1838-1839, she'll address why the Moravian presence reinforced beliefs and practices of the ancient Cherokee. She'll also discuss contemporary Cherokee issues including the Freedman controversy that led to the removal of 1,500 people of black and Cherokee decent from the Cherokee Tribal Roll. Ohio Room, second floor of Student Center.

Monday, Nov. 26

• 7 p.m. – "Rhetorical Sovereignty and Museums," by Lisa King, a University of Kansas rhetoric and composition doctoral candidate. She'll speak of her interdisplinary work regarding Native American work toward "rhetorical sovereignty" and redefining museum setting representations. The Rhetorical sovereignty concept focuses on Native construction and performance of public discourses as well as how to create collaborative models and/or cultural centers relevant to specific tribal needs to reach wider audiences than traditional museum images. Mackinaw Room, Student Center.

Tuesday, Nov. 27

• 6 p.m. – Native American art exhibit and reception featuring the works of SIUC student artisans Jose' Guajardo (Apache, Comanche), Thomas Peters (Seneca) and others during which they'll also be on hand to discuss their work. Student Programming Council is hosting the reception to honor all of the artists. Art Alley on the second floor of the Student Center.

• 7 p.m. – Lanell Matt, a Salish tribal member and doctoral student at SIUC, will provide a historical overview of the Bitterroot Salish, a northwestern Montana Tribe located on the Flathead Reservation in northwest Montana which they share with the Pend d'Oreilles (also known as the Kalispel Salish) and Kootenai. Illinois Room of Student Center.

Thursday, Nov. 29

• 7 p.m. – "Indian Lives during the Eisenhower Years of Termination and Relocation," by Don Fixico (Shawnee, Sac & Fox, Muscogee Creek, and Seminole from Oklahoma). A history "Distinguished Foundation" professor at Arizona University, Fixico will discuss governmental American Indian policies during Eisenhower's administration with 1950's and 1960's termination and relocation leading two thirds of the American Indian population to urban areas. Attempting to assimilate them, as the Cold War intensified, the federal government enforced these policies on Native peoples with disastrous results. Feeling abandoned in cities, they saw natural resources stripped from tribal lands. Fixico tells of the disturbing change to Indian communities. A U-card event. Ohio Room of Student Center.

Sponsors for the 2007 Native American Heritage Month include: Native American Student Organization, the anthropology and history departments of SIUC, Graduate and Professional Student Council, University Housing, Undergraduate Student Government, The University Museum, Student Programming Council, Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services and the offices of the chancellor, associate chancellor (diversity) and vice-chancellor for student affairs.

For more information about Native American Heritage Month, contact Nichole Boyd, president of the Native American Student Organization by email at nativeatsiu@hotmail.com or Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services at 618/453-5714. You can also look online at www.stddev.siu.edu. Career planning and related information for American Indian students and others is accessible at SIUC Career Services online at www.siu.edu/~ucs.

Native American Heritage Month at SIUC is a Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services (MPS) initiative. MPS also hosts Latino Heritage Month, GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) Month, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Recognition Week, Women's History Month and Asian American Heritage Month.


McClinton speaks — Rowena McClinton will speak at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 as part of Native American Heritage Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. McClinton's address is titled "Christian Images Challenge Cherokee Spirituality: Early 19th Century Moravian Visitors, The Little Broom, The Bird and The Flea." She will speak in the Ohio Room of the Student Center.

Photo provided