Celebrate Native American Heritage Month

MANHATTAN, Kansas - Kansas State University's Native American Student Association has planned several events to help K-Staters embrace the Native American culture as part of the university's observance of Native American Heritage Month in April.

"Our goals are to promote awareness about the heritage of Native Americans, get students involved and to ensure that our culture doesn't die," said Cameron Piercy, junior in communication studies and political science, Comanche, Okla., and president of the K-State Native American Student Association. "The events we do throughout the year and for Native American Heritage Month celebrate the culture and display it to the rest of campus."

The major event of the month is Native American Heritage Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, April 12, in the K-State Student Union courtyard. The following is a list of the day's activities, which are all free and open to the public:

* Reubin Ironhorse-Kent, from the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, has researched Missouri River Valley pottery of his ancestors, which he now produces. He also studied ceramics at an art institute in Santa Fe, N.M. Along with telling stories of the Iowa tribe, his pottery, flutes and regalia will be on display.

* Terra Coons, a Cherokee basket weaver, will display a vintage basket collection along with some of her own artwork, including portraits of some of the last living members of the Kansa (Kaw) Nation. Coons also will teach students to weave in groups of five, as space and time allow.

* Michael J. Perez will display his carvings, beadwork and leatherwork, along with other works by other Native American artists from various tribes. Items on display will include carved buffalo jawbone maps, arrow quivers, stone knives and leather bags.

* The Potawatomi tribe's language department will be performing dialogue in its native tongue.

* The Big Soldier Creek Singers and Dancers, from Prairie Band Potawatomi, will dance from noon to 1 p.m. The group also will have a full performance from 7-9 p.m. in the Union's Forum Hall.

* The Union Program Council's People and Cultures event will be from noon to 1 p.m. and will offer a sampling of the Native American dish, "Three Sisters Soup," to the first 100 visitors. The Union Program Council is a concurrent sponsor of Native American Heritage Day.

Other events in celebration of Native American Heritage Month at K-State include:

* Through Friday, April 9, the Native American Student Association will have a cultural display in the glass case by the computer store in the K-State Student Union.

* "An Evening with Chris Eyre," 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, in Forum Hall. The event will feature a panel discussion with Chris Eyre, writer, producer and director of "Smoke Signals," "Edge of America" and "Skin Walkers." Panelists also will include Harald Prins, university distinguished professor of anthropology at K-State; Lisa Tatonetti, assistant professor of English at K-State; and Billie Webster, a former president of K-State's Native American Student Association. Both Prins and Tatonetti use Eyre's works in their teaching. The event is funded through the Diversity Programming Committee.

* Saturday, April 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Native American Student Association will have an All-University Open House display on the grass northeast of the Union behind the parking lot of Anderson Hall. Along with the Native American Student Association's cultural display, Terra Coon will be demonstrating and displaying Cherokee basket weaving.

For more information on activities for Native American Heritage Month, contact Piercy at cpiercy@k-state.edu or Georgia Perez, the Native American Student Association's adviser, at gnonte@k-state.edu.

Native American Heritage Month at K-State is funded through the office of Diversity and Dual Career Development and the Student Governing Association.


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