Mason Celebrates American Indian Heritage Month

Posted: November 2, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryann Doyle

November is recognized as National American Indian Month to celebrate the indigenous culture and to educate the public about the heritage, history, art and traditions of the American Indian Native people.

American Indian Heritage Month kicks off on Tuesday, Nov. 6, with a Native American Heritage lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in Ciao Hall in the Student Union Building II on the Fairfax Campus. Several delicious traditional native dishes will be available.

Other events planned for the month are

  • Tuesday, Nov. 6—Get ready for the annual powwow and learn how to dance at the Pre-Powwow Dance Workshop from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building II Ballroom. Members of the American Indian/Alaskan Native Student Association will offer an introduction to traditional native dance, music and and regalia making. The workshop is open to the public.
  • Thursday, Nov. 8—The 5th-annual Veteran’s Powwow will be held, from noon to 10 p.m., in Johnson Center’s Dewberry Hall. The powwow is a central social event in pan-Indian culture, combining dance and music. Participants will include Northern Drum, White Oak Singers; Southern Drum, Silvercloud Singers; Lawrence Baker, master of ceremonies; Michael Nephew, arena director; and Ashlie Gerard and Jay Hill, head dancers. This event is open to the public and admission is free. A large selection of traditional art will also be on display and available for purchase.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14—The film “Powwow Highway” will be shown at 6 p.m. in the Johnson Center Cinema. “Powwow Highway” follows an American Indian, Buddy Red Bow, as he struggles to keep his nation on a Montana Cheyenne reservation financially solvent and independent. When Buddy’s sister is arrested, Buddy and a friend set off on a road trip to look after her kids and bail her out. As the miles roll by, Buddy’s friend challenges Buddy’s hard-edged view of the world, and together they face the realities and dreams of being Cheyenne Indian in the modern-day United States.
  • Thursday, Nov. 15—The Trail of Tears Intertribal Dance Troupe will perform and hold their Annual Toy Drive from 3:30 to 5 p.m., at the Food Court stage in the Johnson Center. The performance supports the collection of new gifts for Lakota children who live on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, one of the poorest areas in the world. Toys, backpacks and school supplies will be accepted.
  • Monday, Nov. 19—Local artisan Gerald C. Barnes will present “Traditional Passamaquoddy Basketry,” a lecture on the baskets made by the Passamaquoddy tribe in Maine. The event will be held in the Johnson Center’s Gold Room from 4:45 to 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 28—”Identity: Student Panel Discussion” from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building II, Rooms 1 and 2. Members of the American Indian/Alaskan Native Student Association, as well as Mason faculty and staff, will discuss the diversity found in the indigenous populations of North, Central and South America. A special emphasis will be on the panelists’ conception of their own identities and what it means to be indigenous in this day and age.

These events are sponsored by the American Indian/Alaskan Native Student Association, Office of Diversity Programs and Services, Native American Alumni Association, the Provost’s Office, University Life and Dining Services.

For more information about American Indian Heritage Month events at Mason, e-mail the Office of Diversity Programs and Services.

Write to at