Annual Powwow Highlights American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month

Posted: November 1, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

It’s time for Mason’s annual powwow, and the American Indian/Alaskan Native Student Association wants the campus community to be ready. The annual event is the highlight of American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage Month, which is celebrated at Mason each November.

To help people prepare for the powwow, the student association and the Office of Diversity Programs and Services (ODPS) are sponsoring a pre-powwow dance workshop on Wednesday, Nov. 8. Phil Little Thunder, a Sicangu Lakota and a direct descendant of Chief Little Thunder, will offer an introduction to traditional native dance, music and regalia making from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Student Union Building (SUB) II Ballroom. Everyone is welcome, but workshop participants should come prepared to move, laugh and learn.

After the workshop, celebrate Native American style on Thursday, Nov. 9, at Mason’s fourth annual powwow. The powwow, which runs from noon to 10 p.m. in the Johnson Center Dewberry Hall, is a central social event in pan-Indian culture, combining dance and music.

This year, a number of groups and performers will be on campus for the celebration: Northern Drum, White Oak Singers; Southern Drum, Cedartree Singers; master of ceremonies, Harry Burk, Arapaho tribe; arena director, Lawrence Baker; and Mandan/Hidatsa Head Dancers, Ashlie Gerard, Cherokee tribe; and Phil Little Thunder, Sicangu Lakota tribe.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public. A selection of traditional art will also be available for purchase.

Also this month:

  • On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Harry Burk, Native American elder, oral historian and storyteller from the Black Hills, S.D., will give a detailed account of the Battle of the Little Big Horn at 6 p.m. in the SUB II Ballroom.

  • On Friday, Nov. 17, the Trail of Tears Intertribal Dance Troupe will be performing in the Johnson Center Food Court from 1 to 3 p.m. to promote its annual toy drive. Each year the troupe collects new toys for Lakota children from birth to age 14 living on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota — one of the poorest areas in the world.

Everyone is encouraged to come, enjoy the Native American dancing, and bring a toy, backpack or school supplies.

For more information about the month, contact ODPS at 703-993-2700. For more information about the powwow, call T. Carter at 703-624-6201.

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