October 24, 2011

Native American Heritage Month opens Oct. 27

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Native American Heritage Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a celebration of the diverse Native American population and also a chance to learn more about and enjoy a rich culture.

Throughout the month of November, there are special events including meals, presentations, films, a farrier clinic, beading, dancing, music and even a bison cookout.  The activities actually begin Thursday, Oct. 27, with traditional Aztec dancing by the Omeyocan Dance Company.  This interactive event at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Center’s Ballroom D gives participants the chance to learn about and participate in traditional Aztec dance. 

“Native American Heritage Month is an annual celebration at SIU Carbondale and includes a variety of events.  This year we are having renowned historians Thea Perdue, Steve Russell and Jennifer Denetdale and performing groups Iron Necklace and the Omeyocan Dance Company.  We’re also having presentations and lectures by three of the University’s own -- Anthony Webster, Deborah Seltzer and Gray Whaley,” said Nichole Boyd, president of the Native American Student Organization at SIU Carbondale. 

“Mark Denzer, an SIU alumnus who is now director of Trails of Awareness, will also be presenting about traditional ecological knowledge of Native peoples of Illinois and Jim Apple will be hosting a clinic on traditional Native horsemanship as well as a presentation about his handmade saddlery.  The month will wrap up with a feature lecture from Cornel Pewewardy about American Indians within higher education.  The Native American Student Organization invites everyone to attend the various events and join them for a bison cookout and family bowling and billiards night,” Boyd added.

The schedule for Native American Heritage Month 2011, with all events free and open to the public unless otherwise specified, includes:

Oct. 27

            • Traditional Aztec Dancing featuring the Omeyocan Dance Company, 6:30 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom D.  Here’s your chance to watch and learn how to do traditional Aztec dance.

Nov. 1

            •  Kickoff events with the traditional drum and dance group Iron Necklace, 10 a.m. at the Free Forum Area near the parking garage, 11 a.m. at Lentz Hall, 4 p.m. at Trueblood Hall and 7 p.m. at Ballroom D in the Student Center. 

Nov. 2

            •  Native American harvest lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Lentz Hall and 4-7 p.m. at Trueblood Hall.  Enjoy traditional harvest native fare including acorn squash, wild rice, turkey and sweet potatoes.  Those who don’t have a meal package can dine for $8.50.

            •  “Science or Sacrilege:  Native Americans, Archaeology and the Law,” film and discussion with Anthony Webster, 6:30 p.m., Student Center, Kaskaskia Room.  The movie explores the political and moral issues involved in digging up bones of Native Americans and looks at the conflicts between the rights of Natives to maintain undisturbed sacred burial grounds and the research interests of archaeologists and historians.  The issue goes deeper as part of the longtime historical conflict and power struggles involving Native Americans and the U.S. government.

Nov. 3

            •  Bison cookout, 5 p.m., campus lake boat dock.  Enjoy a free meal featuring bison meat from the region’s own Bison Bluff Farms along with fry bread and other traditional Native dishes as you learn about the importance of shared meals within their culture.

Nov. 7

            •  Race and Citizenship Inside and Outside the Cherokee Nation, 7 p.m., Student Center Mississippi Room.  Steve Russell, author of “Sequoyah Rising:  Problems in Post-Colonial Tribal Governance,” will discuss the issue of tribal citizenship and its implications for freedmen and Cherokee as well as the role of U.S. government in tribal politics.  It’s a very relevant topic in this age where tribes seek to maintain their cultural identity and determine what it means, ethnically and culturally, to be Native American.  Russell will have a book signing after the lecture.

Nov. 8

            •  Native theme meals from University Housing, 4-6:30 p.m. at University Hall, 7-11 p.m. at Eastside Express.  Enjoy bison burgers, seafood chowder, baked lemon caper cod and pumpkin cake.  You can purchase a meal for $8.50 if you don’t have a dining package.

Nov. 9

            •  “My Gender is Not an Issue:  The 2011 Navajo Presidential Campaign and the Politics of Tradition” presented by Jennifer Denetdale, 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom C.  Although Lynda Lovejoy, a Democratic New Mexico state senator, insisted while campaigning to be the first female Navajo Nation president that gender shouldn’t be a factor, when she lost to Ben Shelley, vice president, she said the race was marred by gender discrimination.  She was the third woman to run for the post.  Denetdale’s presentation will explore how Navajo tradition affects Native women’s traditionally high status and how western democratic practices and their flaws and failures have influence.  Following the presentation is a book signing for Denetdale, author of “Dine History:  The Legacies of Navajo Chief Manuelito and Juanita.”

Nov. 10

            •  Southern Indians and Jim Crowd, a presentation by Theda Perdue, 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom A.  Perdue will discuss how racial segregation in the new south left little room for Indians as laws focused just on blacks and whites and she’ll also explore the ways Native Americans carved a niche for themselves as Indians.  The author of “Mixed Blood Indians:  Racial Reconstruction in the Early South and Cherokee Women:  Gender and Cultural Change 1700-1835,” Perdue will also have a book signing after her presentation.

Nov. 11

            •  Traditional American Indian Horsemanship and Saddlery presentation by Jim Apple, 6 p.m., Student Center, Kaskaskia Room.  Apple will discuss how the coming of horses revolutionized the lives of native peoples affecting them socially, economically and also their ceremonies, songs and art.  He’ll discuss the horse’s influence as well as training techniques and show some of the saddlery he makes.

Nov. 12

            •  Bare Foot Farrier Clinic with Jim Apple, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., SIU Equestrian Center.  Apple is a fourth-generation blacksmith and started farrier work at age 14, then attended farrier school and became certified in 1990.  Soon after graduating, he concluded that shoeing horses didn’t keep them sound or prevent problems so he began using a natural trim, developing his own style for a trim that allows a horse to still do anything it would do otherwise.  He’ll present a clinic with hands-on examples and will answer questions.  Lunch available on site.

Nov. 14

            •  Curanderos of the Pre-Columbia Era with Deborah Seltzer, 7 p.m., Student Center, Kaskaskia Room.  Seltzer will discuss Curanderos, traditional headers common in Latin communities.  She’ll note their roots in the indigenous cultures of the pre-Columbia era and also their existence today in local communities.

Nov. 15

            •  “When Your Hands Are Tied,” film and discussion with Gray Whaley, 6:30 p.m., Student Center, Kaskaskia Room.  The film highlights the ways native youths express themselves in the contemporary world while adhering to strong traditions.  The film features young people and role models finding positive directions for their lives, notable since there are few media role models for Native American youths.  Introduced in the film are Navajo rappers and punk rock musicians and Apache skateboarders.

Nov. 16

            •  Traditional Ecological Knowledge:  Perspectives on Materials, Land and Natural Awareness of American Indians with Mark Denzer, 7 p.m., Student Center, Kaskaskia Room.  Denzer, director of the Trails of Awareness project, will speak about a field of study, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) of Indigenous People, noting how natives utilized their close relationship with the land to shape their world and its resources including plants, trees, rocks, animals, water and soil.  By shaping key resources, they were able to have what they needed to survive.

Nov. 18

            •  Traditional Foods Dinner, 6:30 p.m., Gaia House.  Join people from campus and the community for a meal featuring traditional Native American foods.

Nov. 28

            •  Identity Politics and Native Representation in Higher Education by Cornel Pewewardy, 7 p.m., Student Center, Ballroom A.  Pewewardy, Comanche Kiowa, associate professor and director of the Indigenous Nations Studies at Portland State University, will talk of Native American representation in higher education and curriculum.

Nov. 29

            •  Traditional Lazy Stitch Beading, 7 p.m., Student Center, Illinois Room. You can see the application of glass and seed beads to various materials in this traditional plains style of lazy stitch beading.  All materials are included.

Nov. 30

            •  Bowling and Billiards, 5:30 p.m., Student Center Bowling and Billiards.  Wrap up the month long celebration with family bowling and pool games.  Those attending receive a free meal, shoe rental and unlimited play.

Native American Heritage Month sponsors include Native American Studies Minor, Native American Student Organization, the College of Liberal Arts and the departments/schools of History, Anthropology, Art and Design, Equine Science, Art History, Africana Studies, Speech Communication, Curriculum and Instruction and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.  Also, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. Delta Tau Chapter, Black Affairs Council, Hispanic Student Council, Hispanic Resource Center, Black Resource Center, Saluki First Year, Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students, Graduate and Professional Student Council, Undergraduate Student Council, Multicultural Programs and Services, WSIU, University Housing, Trails of Awareness, Bison Bluff Farms, Vinyard Indian Settlement and Hampton Inn.

For more information about the activities, contact Boyd at 618/201-7953 or by email at siunaso@hotmail.com.

Learn about the Native American Studies minor at SIU Carbondale by contacting Gray Whaley at 618/453-4391 (email gwhaley@siu.edu) or Anthony Webster at 618/536-6651 (email awebster@siu.edu).