NSU highlights Native American culture during American Indian Heritage Month
TNE Editor
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NSU highlights Native American culture during American Indian Heritage Month

Published 10/5/18

Colby Luper

TNE Writer

Several NSU organizations are having events during November to celebrate American Indian Heritage Month. These organizations include the Center for Tribal Studies, Native American Student Association, American Indian Business Leaders, Organization of Cherokee Language Learners, as well as the two Native American Greek organizations at NSU, Alpha Pi Omega and Phi Sigma Nu. These events span across the entire month of November. Each event either focuses on a specific aspect of Native American culture or raises some kind of awareness about a topic pertaining to Native American people.

“This is a month the government has set aside to honor Indigenous and American Indian people,” said Sara Barnett, Center for Tribal Studies director. “This is a special time to educate the general public about who we are collectively and the unique identities of our individual tribes. We also take time to highlight the work of Indigenous people, particularly in contemporary arts.”

Each year the Center for Tribal Studies applies for a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council to help fund the activities for American Indian Heritage Month. There has been a decline in available funding over the years and efforts are now focused on interactive learning events related to the arts. Last year’s events included workshops for music, creative writing, shell carving and painting. This year workshops are offered including a painting event, a shell shaker-making workshop and a clay sculpting and pottery-making workshop.

The Center for Tribal Studies receives input from the American Indian Heritage Committee to plan and implement all American Indian Heritage Month events on campus. The AIHC is composed of faculty, staff and students. The Center for Tribal Studies also collaborates with other departments like the Center for Women’s Studies and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for various events. Through the collective action of these organizations, NSU’s American Indian Heritage Month celebration remains as inclusive and expansive as possible.

“The Native American Support Center plans to serve a supporting role for events planned by the Center for Tribal Studies and other Native American student organizations,” said Brian Barlow, NASC academic intervention specialist. “These events include activities such as stickball, traditional dances, traditional foods and traditional arts. There are not many universities where opportunities such as these exist. This makes NSU is a truly special place.”

The first event scheduled for American Indian Heritage Month is RiverHawk Rally, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 in the University Center. They are displaying Indigenous tribal flags during halftime at the NSU RiverHawks football game that day. There is a family adoption panel from 5-8 p.m. on Nov. 5 and a painting workshop from 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 7. The NSU American Indian Business Leaders organization is holding a powwow from 2-7 p.m. on Nov. 10 at the NSU Jack Dobbins Fieldhouse. There is a showing of the Native American documentary, Mankiller, from 6-9 p.m. on Nov. 13 and a workshop where participants learn how to make shell shakers from 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 17. A workshop over clay in Native American art is from 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 27.

 “Every American Indian Heritage Month brings something different,” said Billy Flint, NASC outreach coordinator. “What is important is that it all still centers on the theme of celebrating and educating people about the culture and success of American Indian people.”

A complete list of events can be found online at https://offices.nsuok.edu/centerfortribalstudies/AmericanIndianHeritageMonth.


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