The University Record, October 29, 1996

Tradition woven into celebration of Native American heritage


The Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA) and the Native American Programs Task Force are sponsoring a series of activities on the theme "Woven by Traditions" to commemorate Native American Heritage Month. From a Mini Pow Wow, through a traveling exhibit of traditional arts and crafts, to song and dance performances and storytelling, November will offer a wide variety of activities and events focusing on Native American traditions and culture.

Native American Heritage Month observances at the U-M began as a student effort in 1990 in response to a Congressional declaration designating November as American Indian Heritage Month. The month's activities also are cosponsored by 17 other University units, offices and organizations.

A Mini-Pow Wow will begin the celebration noon­5 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 3) in the Michigan Union Ballroom. It is "a time to sing, dance, see old friends, meet new friends, share stories and enjoy the arts and crafts of our people." A traditional feast will be served 6­8 p.m. at the William Monroe Trotter House Multicultural Center, 1442 Washtenaw, 6­8 p.m. for all Pow Wow participants, family members and special guests.

The Traditions Exhibit, which will travel to several locations, is now on display at Pierpont Commons through Saturday (Nov. 3) The exhibit is a showcase of traditional Native American arts and crafts, including basketry, beadwork, painting, and more by Native American students, faculty, staff and alumni. The exhibit will move to Trotter House Sunday (Nov. 4) through Nov. 10, then to the Michigan League Nov. 11­17, and finally to the Art Lounge, Michigan Union, Nov. 18­Dec. 1.

Other highlights of Native American Heritage Month include:


Nov. 1 Rabbit River Singers & Dancers, noon­12:45 on the Diag; 1­2 p.m. at Pierpont Commons; and 8­9 p.m. in the Blue Carpet Lounge, Stockwell Residence Hall.


Nov. 4 Lecture by Mary Al Balber, Balancing the Scales: Race Bias in the Courts and Its Impact upon Native Americans," at 7 p.m. in Room 116, Hutchings Hall, Law School. Balber, of the Red Cliff Band of Ojibwe, is an assistant attorney general with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office.


Nov. 5 NASA (Native American Student Association) Movie Night, showing Pow Wow Highway, 7 p.m., Trotter House.


Nov. 6 Noon Lecture Series, "Healing Ourselves," 12:15­1 p.m., Pond Room, Michigan Union. Speaker is Lucy Harrison, Ojibwe and executive director of American Indian Health and Family Services of Southeastern Michigan Inc.


Nov. 8 Charlie Hill, of the Oneida Nation, appears in the "Comedians of Color Series: Live" at the Trotter, 7 p.m., Trotter House. Hill is ranked as the "Number One Native American comedian in the world."


Nov. 9 Dejope Theater, 7 p.m., RC Theater, East Quad. Dejope is a story-telling theater group from Madison, Wis., featuring an intertribal cast.


Nov. 13 Noon Lecture Series, "Tuition Waiver and Beyond," 12:15­1 p.m., Pond Room, Michigan Union. Speaker is Karen Kay, of the Ojibwe Nation, who is executive director of Michigan Indian Employment and Training Services Inc. and chairs the Michigan Commission on Indian Affairs. Light refreshments will be served.


Nov. 14 Lecture: "A Braided History," by Deborah Tucker, 7 p.m., Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union. Tucker will discuss her findings based on 20 years of research into the interaction between Native Americans and African Americans. A reception at 8:30 p.m.will follow the lecture.


Nov. 17 Storytelling, 7 p.m., Bursley Library. Students, faculty and staff will tell their stories, continuing one of the oldest Native American traditions, the oral transfer of knowledge.


Nov. 18 Lecture, 7 p.m., Rackham Amphitheatre. Ada Deer, of the Menominee Nation, assistant secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior-Indian Affairs, will speak on the importance of education and service in strengthening Native Americans and their communities.


Nov. 20 Noon Lecture Series, "Visions for Personal Growth," 12:15­1 p.m., Pond Room, Michigan Union. Paul Johnson, Ojibwe and former Native American education consultant for the Michigan Education Association, will talk about goal-setting relative to personal and professional development.


Nov. 21 Author and poet Leslie Marmon Silko, of the Laguna Pueblo, will read from her novels and poetry at 7:30 p.m. in the Rackham Auditorium. Among Silko's creative works are Ceremony, Storyteller and Almanac of the Dead. Silko has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a MacArthur Fellowship.


Nov. 22 "Honoring the Artists" Reception, 4­6 p.m., Art Lounge, Michigan Union. The reception marks the last stop for the Traditions Exhibit and provides an opportunity to honor students, faculty, staff and alumni whose talents were showcased in the exhibit.


Nov. 23 Annual Fall Feast, 6­8 p.m., Trotter House. Historically, Fall Feast was a celebrational gathering that signified the end of the harvesting and hunting seasons and provided a chance for friends and family to come together one last time before the arrival of a long winter. The tradition continues today as Native American students, faculty, staff, and families invite the community to share in a celebration of Native American food, song, dance and stories.

For information on Native American Heritage Month, contact Shannon Martin, Native American coordinator, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, 763-9044 or send e-mail to