October 28, 2008

SIUC to mark Native American Heritage Month

by Christi Mathis

robert lewis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Columbus didn’t discover America!” proclaims Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Kristin Dade. “It’s past time to honor those who did,” added the Oak Harbor, Wash., higher education graduate student.

Honoring and celebrating America’s true first inhabitants is what SIUC’s Native American Heritage Month is all about. Special activities, presentations and displays fill the month of November. It’s even a chance to get a taste of bison, America’s original meat of choice.

“Native American Heritage Month is a great opportunity to expand one’s knowledge of Native American cultures and sharpen an appreciation of and respect for differences, similarities and the human experience. It is educational and it’s fun,” said Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

One of the month’s highlights is a visit by Cherokee storyteller Robert Lewis. He holds a bachelor of arts in fine arts and is adjunct instructor at Northeastern State University’s art department in Tahlequah, Okla. He serves as storyteller and lead village interpreter for the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah. He leads tours and tells of the Native American lifestyle in the ancient village there.

He laces audience participation throughout his intriguing tales. At the behest of the Cherokee Nation’s chief, he also shares his stories in other venues too. Lewis’ traditional narratives have a timeless message.

“It is important to know the true history of our country and the people who were here before us,” said Grace Luder, SIUC higher education graduate student and assistant equipment manager for Saluki athletics from Dallas City.

“It’s part of the history books that is not touched upon enough,” added Dan Sepulveda, a senior administration of justice major from Joliet.

For some at SIUC, Native American Heritage Month is personal.

“I’m part Indian and I want to know more about my history,” said Jamie Strothman, a freshman from Murphysboro with an undeclared major.

The Native American Heritage Month activities at SIUC are all free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. The schedule includes:

Now through May 9

* Exhibit -- “A Warrior’s Story,” an Oglala Sioux painted buffalo robe, donated by longtime SIUC athletic director William McAndrew in 1947. Under direction of the late anthropologist Philip Dark, Seth Schindler gave a student’s interpretation. Lorie Huffman is curator for the exhibit Amy Chase designed. The exhibit is at the University Museum in Faner Hall; open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Nov. 1

* Native American Heritage Month kick-off, 3-6 p.m., Lentz Hall. It’s the chance to try a free authentic bison taco dinner and a movie.

Monday, Nov. 3

* “Waterbuster,” a film showing accompanied by a conversation with Gray Whaley, assistant history professor, 7 p.m., Mississippi Room at the Student Center. The film explores the impact of the 1950’s era Garrison Dam project on the land and American Indian community in the upper Missouri River basin of North Dakota. The project covered 156,000 acres of land in water and displaced people from the Berthold Indian Reservation. The film and discussion are a U-Card event.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

• Taste of bison, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Trueblood Hall. Enjoy a tasty bison burger meal for $7.99 plus tax. Payment can be with a meal ticket or cash.

• “Somewhere Between Native and American: Powwow and Its Creation of Community and Identity through Song and Dance in Central Illinois,” 12:30 p.m. on the lower level of Grinnell Hall. Laura Warren, anthropology graduate student, will discuss the Central Illinois powwow community and the history of the powwow where American Indians gather for song, dance and more.

Thursday, Nov. 6

• Navaho author Esther Belin examines the resistance in Native American literature, 7 p.m. in Ballroom B at the Student Center. She claimed the American Book Award in 2000 for “From the Belly of My Beauty,” her first book of poetry. Numerous other publications have featured her works. A U-card event.

Friday, Nov. 7

• “Weaving Worlds,” movie presentation and conversation with Jo Nast, visiting assistant professor of art history, 7 p.m., Kaskaskia/Missouri Rooms at the Student Center. The film depicts Navajo stories and the lives of their weavers and relationships between the weavers and reservation traders. It illustrates the delicate balance weavers face sustaining their culture, achieving economic independence and keeping their artistic motivation. A U-card event.

Wednesday, Nov. 12

* “Winter Counts, Buffalo Robes and Literacy Practices,” 7 p.m. University Museum in Faner Hall. Anthony Webster, anthropology assistant professor, looks at the Oglala Sioux painted buffalo robe displayed at the museum and discusses the Lakota winter counts and other inscriptive practices of Native Americans. A U-Card event.

Monday, Nov. 17

* Exhibit -- “Mapping the Trail of Tears through Southern Illinois,” noon-7 p.m., Hall of Fame on the Student Center’s first floor. Originally a facet of the larger “Mapping Southern Illinois” University Museum exhibit, this map of the Cherokee’s Trail of Tears is accompanied by information researched by curators Karen Frailey, lab coordinator and assistant greenhouse manager for the plant biology department/forestry department graduate student, and Harvey Henson, assistant dean for outreach in the College of Science. WSIU is sponsoring the return of this exhibit to raise awareness of Native American history in advance of the upcoming documentary “We Shall Remain.” The exhibit will tour other museums in the region later.

• Robert Lewis presents “Stories from the Earth,” 7 p.m., Student Center Auditorium. Lewis is lead village interpreter for the Cherokee Heritage Center in Tahlequah, Okla., and an acclaimed storyteller. Utilizing audience participation, he shares Cherokee stories to enthralled audiences. Lewis is an adjunct art instructor for Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. A U-card event.

Thursday, Nov. 20

• Bison chili night, 4-6 p.m. University Hall. Bison chili meal served in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. You can use meal tickets or pay $7.99 plus tax at the dining hall.

• Lisa King-Huth presents “Beyond ‘We Are Still Here’: Rhetorics of Native Identity and Speaking Presence to a Non-Native Public,” 7 p.m., Student Center Ballroom A. An authority on Native American culture, she’ll analyze how museums and cultural centers serve as a public forum for Native Americans, telling their stories to the public.

Native American Heritage Month sponsors are: Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services, Native American Studies Minor, anthropology department, WSIU-TV, University Housing, University Museum, Native American Student Organization, Black Togetherness Organization, Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity, history department, School of Art and Design, College of Liberal Arts, Global Media Research Center and Bison Bluff Farms.

In conjunction with Native American Heritage Month, WSIU TV is also airing a number of special programs. The schedule includes:

Sunday, Nov. 2

• “Weaving Worlds,” 2-3 p.m. Oral histories and interviews offer insight into the life of a Native American weaver and the weaver’s relationships with the rest of the world.

• “P.O.V.-Arctic Son,” 10:30 p.m.-midnight. A native father and son clash as tradition and modern life come into play in the remote village of Old Crow, 80 miles above the Arctic Circle. The father keeps alive the Gwitchin tradition and lifestyle while the son in Seattle, Wash., drifts into drinking and parties until, after 25 years, they reunite and talk.

Wednesday, Nov. 5

• “Oceti Sakowin: The People of the Seven Council Fires,” 11 p.m.-midnight. It’s an overview of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota people of South Dakota.

Thursday, Nov. 6

• “Inside Passage,” 9-10 p.m. This program explores the 1,000-mile waterway between Seattle and the Alaskan panhandle, focusing particularly on native people including the Tlingit, Lummi and Kwakwaka’wakw.

Saturday, Nov. 8

• “Globe Trekker: Southern Mexico,” 8-9 p.m. It’s the story of a journey beginning at the Day of the Dead festival in Pazcuaro and traveling to various locales before ending at the Mayan ruins of Palenque and the Lancondon jungle.

Sunday, Nov. 9

• Best of the Bug Muddy Film Festival 2008: “Standing Silent Nation,” 1-2 p.m. The documentary tells of Alex Plume and his family and their work to develop a sustainable economy with a hemp crop on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota.

• “A Tattoo on My Heart: The Warriors of Wounded Knee 1973,” 2-3 p.m. Racism, violence, corruption and repression against American Indians were so prevalent by the early 1970’s that American Indian leaders staged a protest symbolizing the 1890 massacre of Wounded Knee where almost 300 unarmed Lakota were killed. The protest ended peacefully after 71 days but not without the death of two American Indians and wounding of several others. This program commemorates the 30th anniversary of the siege, now a tribal holiday.

Monday, Nov. 10

• “Early History of the Illinois Indians,” 9-10 p.m. It’s the story of the Illinois Native Americans presented by David Froman, a member of the Peoria Tribe and Illinois descendant. The show is the master’s thesis of SIUC graduate Jeff Specker.

Tuesday, Nov. 11

• “Way of the Warrior,” 11 p.m.-midnight. This is an examination of war and the bravery of Native American veterans who fought with the U.S. military during the last century’s battles despite the prejudice they often encountered.

Wednesday, Nov. 12

• “Brulé, Live at Mt. Rushmore: A Concert for Reconciliation of the Cultures,” 9-10 p.m. Taped with an audience of 11,000 at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial in July 2007, it’s one of the most memorable Native American concerts ever, featuring recording artist Brulé.

• “A Blackfeet Encounter,” 11 p.m.-midnight. Meriwether Lewis and another Corps of Discovery member killed two Blackfeet warriors in July 1806, the only deadly encounter between the Lewis and Clark Expedition and American Indians. This documentary explores the encounter and what the Blackfeet people have endured in the last two centuries.

Monday, Nov. 17

• “Gallery: The National Museum of the American Indian,” 9:30-10 p.m. It tells of the first Smithsonian Museum dedicated to American Indians and the ceremonies that opened it, drawing more than 25,000 American Indians representing more than 500 tribes and Native communities.

Tuesday, Nov. 18

• “Independent Lens” March Point,” 11 p.m.-midnight. It’s the tale of three Swinomish Tribe teens as they study the impact of a pair of oil refineries built in the late 1950’s has on their community.

Wednesday, Nov. 19

* “The Long Walk: Tears of the Navajo,” 11 p.m.-midnight. Eight thousand Navajo were marched at gunpoint in 1864 to a barren reservation on the Texas border. Hundreds died during the long march and four-year forced isolation.

Saturday, Nov. 22

• “Illinois Adventure: Cahokia Mounds,” 6:30-7 p.m. It’s an up close and personal visit with host Jim Wilhelm to Cahokia Mounds near Belleville, site of a Mississippian Native American city of 8,000 to 40,000 who lived there between 650 and 1400 Common Era.

Sunday, Nov. 23

• “True Whispers: The Story of the Navajo Code Talkers,” 2-3 p.m. Young Navajo men recruited from harsh government boarding schools into the World War II Marines devised an unbreakable code in their native language and transmitted vital messages to aid in the war against Japan.

• “Indian Country Diaries: Spiral of Fire,” 10:30 p.m.-midnight. LeAnne Howe, an author and historian, looks at the North Carolina region that was home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to see how they’ve fused tourism, cultural preservation and spirituality to retain their tribal health in today’s world.

Tuesday, Nov. 25

• “Remembered Earth: New Mexico’s Highest Desert,” 9:30-10:30 p.m. Filmed by John Grabowska with help from Pulitzer Prize-winning American Indian author and poet N. Scott Momaday, this is a portrayal of the El Malpais National Monument near Grants, N.M., and the surrounding area. Irene Bedard, a Native American actress best known as Disney’s Pocahontas, is narrator.

Wednesday, Nov. 26

• “Waasa Inaabidaa: We Look in All Directions. Episode #106, Ojibwemowin,” 11 p.m.-midnight. It’s the final episode of a six-part series about the elaborate use of the Ojibwe language before contact with Europeans and how in the ensuing years it became nearly extinct before being revived. It’s also a study of the Ojibwe people and their adaptations as the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe now thrive.

For more information about Native American Heritage Month and scheduled activities, call 618/453-5714 or look online at http://www.stddev.siu.edu and click on Multicultural Programs. More information about special WSIU TV programming is available at http://www.wsiu.org/