American Indian Heritage Month 2011 Celebration to Feature Performances

Posted on 10/27/2011 10:01:21 AM
Clifton Pembleton, left, and David Werner, IUP interim president, with the photo the Native American Awareness Council will present to Werner on November 12 (Keith Boyer photo)

The Native American Awareness Council will present the fifth annual celebration of American Indian Heritage Month on Saturday, November 12, 2011, from noon to 5:00 p.m.

The event, free and open to the community, will be held in the Hadley Union Building Delaware Room. Parking on campus, including at the Hadley Union Building parking lot, is free on Saturdays.

The program will begin at noon with the presentation of a framed photograph to David Werner, interim president, by Clifton Pembleton, chair of the Native American Awareness Council.

The photo, titled We Have Survived, was taken by Richard Lamberski, retired Communications Media professor, at a 2009 Tipton powwow.

A plaque beneath the photo reads, “Presented as a cultural trust to the president of IUP with grateful appreciation from the IUP Native American Awareness Council, Clifton P. Pembleton, chair and member, Tuscarora Tribe, Iroquois Confederacy.” Support for the framing and plaque was provided by Staples, Framing Hut of Indiana, and Luxenberg’s.

Presenters for the day will be as follows:

  • 12:20 p.m., Mathew White Eagle Clair, a Native American performing artist and Mikmaq native from the Elsipogtog Reserve in New Brunswick, Canada
  • 1:00 p.m., Bill Crouse, an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians and a freelance artist and leader and head singer of the Seneca dance group Allegany River Dancers
  • 2:00 p.m., Drums of Native Sisters, a seven-member group from the Pittsburgh region that combines vocals in English and native languages with drumming
  • 3:00 p.m., Michael Jacobs, an award-winning Cherokee recording artist. His debut solo CD, Sacred Nation, received the 2003 Native American Music Award for Best Independent Recording, and his subsequent recordings have also been nominated and chosen for Native American Music Awards. His other recordings include “They Come Dancing,” “The Journey,” “Mystery,” and “Chasing the Wind.”

Several vendors will be at the event, including Bear Creations (native art), native food vendors, and Urban Indian LLC (clothing).

The event is cosponsored by the Administration and Leadership Studies program, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Anthropology Club.

The NAAC membership, in addition to Pembleton, includes Sandra Pembleton, secretary-treasurer; faculty members Sarah Neusius, Anthropology, vice chair; Holly Boda-Sutton, Theater and Dance; James Dougherty, Sociology; Melanie Hildebrandt, Sociology; Robert Millward and Monte Tidwell, Professional Studies in Education; Theresa Smith, Religious Studies; student Germaine McArdle (Oglala, Lakota Sioux); and Jennifer Soliday, Dan Mock, and Kinorea Tigris (Cherokee, Creek, Oglala, Lakota and Sioux).

The NAAC has as its mission to inform the university and wider Indiana community about historical and contemporary issues in Native American culture. The council sponsors events, speakers, films, exhibits, and other education events in an effort to separate stereotypes of indigenous Americans from realities and to provide educational opportunities to the entire community. The council pays special attention to the past and present of native peoples in Pennsylvania and in the eastern woodlands.

Its goals include creating a strong Native American studies program at IUP; recruiting Native American students to IUP through a cultural exchange program; setting up an NAAC scholarship program; developing an internship program for IUP student teachers at Indian reservations throughout the country; placing historical markers on campus near the Hadley Union Building at the intersection of the Catawba Trail and the Kittanning Trail, two of the most important Native American paths in the state; designing and maintaining an NAAC website; and sponsoring ongoing educational events.

In fall 2006, Soliday, then an IUP undergraduate, wrote to the IUP president, “I feel it would be in this university’s best interest to demonstrate IUP’s sensitivity to American Indian culture and formally recognize this November, and every November, as American Indian Heritage Month.”

In December of that year, the Council of Trustees approved a resolution to dedicate November to promoting awareness and appreciation for the history and culture of the region’s Native Americans. The group was named the Native American Awareness Council in November 2007.
In approving the resolution, the Council of Trustees recognized that “it is appropriate to continue to build relationships and to recognize the history and culture of the Lenni Lenape and other Native Americans in the Indiana region and continue to recognize the intertribal cultures, events, and achievements of the region’s original people.”

November was designated as National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990 in a resolution signed by President George H.W. Bush.