November 05, 2013

SIU celebrates Native American Heritage Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Native American Heritage Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a unique opportunity to celebrate the diverse Native American population and learn more about a rich culture.

Activities during November include special presentations, guest speakers, and meals featuring Native American foods.

Festivities begin today (Nov. 5), from 4 to 7 p.m., with an evening meal at Trueblood Hall. The event is one of two theme meals at University Housing Residence Hall dining rooms open to the campus community and the public.

The menu includes roast turkey, bison stroganoff, butternut squash ravioli, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, cornbread and pumpkin pie. Students with dining plans can swipe their cards to enjoy the meals.  Anyone may also pay $10.01 (including tax) at the door via cash, Debit Dawg, credit or debit card. 

A luncheon is from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Lentz Hall.  The meal features smoked chicken, bison tacos, baked salmon, corn casserole, wild rice, rice pudding, cinnamon fry bread, succotash and Oregon blend beans. 

Guest speakers during the month include a Mohawk healer, the chairman of the Vinyard Indian Settlement, and an anthropology professor whose father had a lengthy career as an Indian rights activist.

George Wasson, Coos/Couquelle, will present “Growing Up Indian, Living in Two Worlds and Being Loyal to Both: The lifelong cultural/historical education and development of self-awareness for a Coos/Coquelle tribal member on the Southern Oregon coast.” The presentation is at 3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the Faner Hall Museum Auditorium, room 1526. Admission is free.

Wasson is an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Oregon. He is collaborating with Gray H. Whaley, SIU associate professor of history and adviser in Native American Studies, on a book about the Indian rights activist activities involving Wasson’s father.

The presentation will feature an artifacts display and allow time for questions.

Derrick Williams, assistant director of SIU’s Center for Inclusive Excellence, will present “Honoring the Legacy of John Horse” from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, at Lawson Hall, room 221.  John Horse was a leader of the Black Seminole people during the Seminole Wars against the U.S.

Whaley will speak about “American Indian Activism and the Primitive Imagery in the Age of Edward Curtis” at noon on Nov. 14, at Morris Library.  Beth Martell, library specialist, will also offer a curator’s talk focusing on Curtis’s North American tribe photographic exhibition now on display at the library.  Participants are welcome to bring their lunches and join in on the discussion.

Barney Bush, Shawnee and chair of the board of the Vinyard Indian Settlement in Herod, will present “Poetry Reading and Discussion of Indian Identity and Rights” at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 14, in the Student Center’s Ohio Room. He will read his original poetry and discuss the rights and identity of indigenous people in the U.S.

Marsha Forrest, Mohawk and a registered nurse with more than 40 years experience, will speak about “The Native American Medicine Wheel” at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 21, in Student Center Ballroom A. Raised on the Six National Reservation in Ontario and now working as a health and wellness consultant, Forrest will display various related artifacts and answer questions.

Native American Heritage Month is one of a number of heritage and history celebrations SIU hosts each year.