October 26, 2017

SIU to celebrate Native American Heritage Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Carbondale is celebrating Native American Heritage Month in November by hosting a number of special events and presentations.

Michael JacobsAward-winning singer and songwriter Michael Jacobs and Sacred Nations Productions will be the featured performers during the kick-off event, set for 5 p.m. Nov. 1 at Morris Library’s First Floor Rotunda. The music – a mixture of roots, rock and folk – features lyrics focusing on peace, justice, the environment, relationships, suffering and wholeness. Jacobs has performed at more than 250 institutions of higher learning in 45 states as well as powwows, fairs, concerts and other venues in the United States and Canada.

Guest speaker Candessa Tehee will present “Language and Culture: The Social Power of Language and the Politics of Indigeneity” at 5 p.m. on Nov. 6 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library. Tehee, an assistant professor of American Indian Studies at Northeastern State University, is a full-blooded Cherokee.

Candessa TeheeTehee grew up in a traditional, close-knit community grounded in the Cherokee language and culture. She continues to embrace her culture and its artistic traditions. She has been finger weaving since 2000 and in 2011 received instruction in tabletop loom weaving from Dorothy Dreadfulwater Ice to carry on the loom weaving legacy of her paternal grandfather, Rogers Mclemore.

Another highlight is the presentation “20th Century American Indian Tribes and the Contradictions between Colonial Administration and U.S. Claims Law” by Gray Whaley, associate professor of history. The presentation is at 12:15 p.m., Nov. 7, in the SIU School of Law Hiram H. Lesar Law Building, Room 108. Whaley will discuss the attempts by American Indian tribes, particularly in western Oregon, to utilize the legal system to achieve justice for the lands taken from them within the context of U.S. Indian law and policy in the 20th century.

There will also be a panel discussion, “The State and Indigenous People of South America – Contemporary Issues,” at noon on Nov. 29 in Faner Hall, Room 3461. Panelists will discuss the relationship between the contemporary states and the indigenous people of South America.

Other events include an American Indian craft night, an evening of culture and history and special programming on WSIU television. 

In celebration of the month, Lentz and Trueblood dining halls will serve special meals that reflect the Native American culture. Made from healthy, sustainable foods, the meals will include Comanche stew, wild Gitigan salad, three sisters soup, corn, blueberry and wild rice salad and more. 

Students with dining plans can enjoy the meals at no cost. The meals are available to the public for $10 plus tax for adults, or $5.84 plus tax for children ages 4-12.

The complete Native American Heritage Month events calendar, including the schedules for the special Native American meals and the WSIU broadcasts, at www.smrc.siu.edu.

Native American Heritage Month activities are open to the public, and free unless otherwise specified. For more information, call 618/453-3740.

Sponsors include the Student Multicultural Resource Center, University Housing, the Native American Heritage Month Planning Committee, WSIU, the Native American Student Organization, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and the Native Americans in Science Chapter.