American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month Activities Begin Today

Posted: November 11, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Ryan Effgen

Throughout November, George Mason will celebrate American Indian and Native Alaskan Heritage Month with a variety of presentations and open discussions. Topics range from traditional ceremony to contemporary politics, and the Native American speakers include a Piscataway chief, a scholar-activist, and current Mason students.

The festivities open with Mason’s first annual powwow today from noon to 10 p.m. in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall. The powwow is a central event in Native American culture. Traditional food and crafts will be available.

Gabrielle Tayac, a Beaver Clan citizen of the Piscataway Indian, is a scholar-activist committed to empowering indigenous perspectives. She will give a presentation focusing on Native Americans and the environment on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in SUB II, Rooms 1 and 2. Chief Billy “Redwing” Tayac is the present Sagamore of the Piscataway Nation and the son of the late chief Turkey Tayac. He will speak on the American Indian Movement on Monday, Nov. 17, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Room A.

An American Indian Heritage Lunch will be held on Thursday, Nov. 20, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in SUB II, Ciao Hall. A prejudice reduction workshop also will be held Nov. 20 from noon to 5 p.m. in SUB II, Room 5. The event is free for George Mason students, faculty, and staff. A sliding scale admission charge is available for community members. For registration or more information, call (703) 993-4003.

Nov. 20 also features an open discussion on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Room E. The discussion will focus on the arguments for refuge preservation and will present an inside perspective of how Alaskan Native people feel. Coffee and tea will be provided.

The activities will close with a Talking Circle on Monday, Nov. 24, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center, Room B. Native American Mason students will discuss growing up indigenous in America. General topics include native rights, land disputes, reservation life, and urban Indian issues. Coffee and tea will be provided.

The events are sponsored by the American Indian and Alaskan Native Student Association, the Office of Diversity Programs and Services, and the Multicultural Research and Resource Center.

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