October 31, 2018

Native American Educational and Cultural Center to celebrate heritage month

Indian market Dana Warrington performs a traditional dance at an event. (Photo courtesy of Dana Warrington) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Native American Educational and Cultural Center will host several events to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November.

“Native American Heritage Month is a celebration to recognize and acknowledge the traditions and contributions of indigenous people,” said Felica Ahasteen-Bryant, director of the Native American Educational and Cultural Center. “We are excited to offer programs that showcase our diverse tribal nations and to address both historical and current issues that impact Native peoples. I encourage the Purdue campus community to join us and gain deeper insight and appreciation of Native American cultures.”

This year’s observance includes an opening celebration with award-winning artist and champion traditional dancer Dana Warrington from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 1) in Stewart Center, Room 278.

Warrington will share stories and history from both his Menominee Tribe in Wisconsin and Prairie Band of Potawatomi of Kansas. Warrington is the featured artist for the fall 2018 Eiteljorg Museum’s Artist-in-Residence Program. The opening celebration is co-sponsored by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art in Indianapolis.

Another highlight of the monthlong observance will be Purdue’s Literary Reading Series, featuring poet Natalie Diaz at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 29 at Krannert Building’s Krannert Auditorium (Room 140).

Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, “When My Brother Was an Aztec,” was published by Copper Canyon Press. She has received numerous awards, including being named a MacArthur Fellow, a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She teaches at Arizona State University’s Creative Writing Master of Fine Arts program. Her talk is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and the College of Liberal Arts.

Other scheduled events, which are open to the public, include:

* Nov. 2: 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Indiana State Capitol in Indianapolis. Native American Indian Days at the State Capitol. This is the opening event to kick off Native American Heritage Month in Indiana. The event includes educational activities and will feature traditional Native American singers and dancers. This event is co-sponsored by the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission.

* Nov. 6: 6-7:30 p.m., Peirce Hall, Room 277. Film screening of “Native America: Episode 3 – Cities of the Sky.” This event is co-sponsored by Purdue Polytechnic Institute’s Office of Recruitment, Retention and Diversity, and the Science Diversity Office.

* Nov. 8: noon- 1 p.m., Native American Educational and Cultural Center. “Tribal Futures – Nightmare or Rebirth?: The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma Imagines 2028,” presented by Tol Foster. Sponsored by the NAECC in collaboration with Civic Engagement and Leadership Development.

* Nov. 13: 6-7:30 p.m., Third Street Suites Conference Room. Film screening of “Native America: Episode 4 – New World Rising.” This event is co-sponsored by University Residences.

* Nov. 15: 3-5 p.m., Native American Educational and Cultural Center. NAECC Craft Circle, featuring gourd art. Local Native artist Linda Andrews will lead. Bring creative energy for this stress reduction event. Registration required.

* Nov. 27: 3-4:30 p.m., Native American Educational and Cultural Center. NAECC Indigenous Alumni Speakers Series presents RaeLynn Butler. This speaker series features distinguished Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Purdue alumni who are making significant contributions in Native American communities and accomplishments in their profession. Butler is from the Muscogee Creek Nation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She received her bachelor’s degree from Haskell Indian Nations University and her master’s degree in botany from Purdue’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in the College of Agriculture. She currently serves as the manager of the historic and cultural preservation department with the Muscogee Creek Nation.

* Nov. 28: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville, Indiana. MESA 15th Annual Multicultural Gathering, “Mother Earth & Father Sky: Environmental Justice, Food Security and Sexual Violence Prevention.” This is a one-day training focused on developing strategies for sexual violence prevention in underserved and underrepresented communities. MESA (Multicultural Education to End Sexual Assault) sponsors this event, and the NAECC serves as a co-sponsor.

* Dec. 1: noon-4 p.m., Native American Educational and Cultural Center. Third annual Native American Winter Art Market. Native American students and local artists showcase their jewelry and artwork. The Purdue and Lafayette community are invited. This event is co-sponsored by Native American Student Association and Purdue AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society).

In addition to those programs, the center will launch “Natives Helping Natives,” which will include service events for the community. One will be a food drive for a food pantry managed by the American Indian Center of Indiana in Indianapolis. Food donations may be dropped off at the center through Nov. 14. In addition, a collection for books, gloves, hats and scarves will be taken at the center. Those items will be shipped to a school and an assisted living facility in New Mexico that serves primarily Native Americans. 

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-496-2571, oatesw@purdue.edu 

Source: Felica Ahasteen-Bryant, 765-494-4540, felica@purdue.edu

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