Dancers, artisans, lecturer liven Native American Heritage Month

Austin Loukas

Christine Lee, Life Editor

Loud chanting was heard as several dancers dressed in brightly-colored traditional attire shuffled and swerved on the small stage in the HenryStudentCenter first floor lounge.

Nearby in the main lobby, venders were selling a variety of brightly colored necklaces, berets, ornaments, earrings and dream catchers. The dancers and craft vendors were part of this year’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

On Nov. 10 the Center for Global Education and Diversity, with the help of assistant professor of business Dr. Gary Gordon, sponsored the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers of the Onondaga Nation of Nedrow, N.Y. and Native American artists and craftspeople.

On Nov. 21, Barbara Landis, aCarlisleIndianSchoolbiographer for the Cumberland County Historical Society, will give a lecture, “Shaping Identity: The Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918.” Gordon says the lecture will focus on the development of Indian boarding schools, and how Indian children were brought to the schools to help them assimilate into the dominant white culture.

There will also be a trip to visit the Cumberland County Historical Society on Nov. 18.

“A lot of the kids that came were Western Indians from what are now western states as opposed to the Northeast, so you would get exposure to multiple different perspectives,” Gordon, who is of Mohawk descent, says.

He hopes people get a little more understanding and knowledge of Native Americans through the programs.

“If you were to talk to a lot of students, faculty and staff about what they know about American Indians, they wouldn’t know a whole lot other than what they see in movies and on TV which are not typically accurate portrayals of Indians,” Gordon says. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to have that kind of exposure.”

Gordon says the exposure is particularly important as the events are focused on Native Americans of the Northeast. The dancers are various members of the Six Nations Iroquois confederacy.

There are 562 federally-recognized Indian reservations, meaning diversity among Native Americans. For instance, the dances presented by the dancers were social dances rather than ceremonial and invite people to join in.

“I hope (people) learn the culture, to have joy about our history and to bring awareness to these individuals,” says associate director of diversity initiatives Erica Acosta. “They are here but sometimes they get so far back in people’s minds that they are overseen and they are very much a part of our culture and traditions.”

See a video of the Native American dancers at Wilkes by going to www.thewilkesbeacon.com!

 

Loud chanting was heard as several dancers dressed in brightly-colored traditional attire shuffled and swerved on the small stage in the Student Union Building first floor lounge.
Nearby in the main lobby, venders were selling a variety of brightly colored necklaces, berets, ornaments, earrings, and dream catchers.
The dancers and craft vendors were part of this year’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month.
On Nov. 10 the Center for Global Education and Diversity with the help of assistant professor of business Dr. Gary Gordon sponsored the Haudenosaunee Singers and Dancers of the Onondaga Nation of Nedrow, N.Y, and Native American artists and crafts people.
On Nov. 21, Barbara Landis, a Carlisle Indian School biographer for the Cumberland County Historical Society, will give a lecture, Shaping Identity: The Carlisle Indian Industrial School, 1879-1918,” on the Carlisle Indian School, a federal boarding school built in 1879 for Native American children.
Gordon says the lecture will focus on the development of Indian boarding schools, how Indian children were brought to the schools to help them assimilate into the dominant white culture.
There will also be a trip to visit the Cumberland County Historical Society on Nov. 18.
“A lot of the kids that came were Western Indians from what are now Western states as opposed to the Northeast, so you would get exposure to multiple different perspectives,” Gordon, who is of Mohawk descent, says.
He hopes people get a little more understanding and knowledge of Native Americans through the programs.
“If you were to talk to a lot of students, faculty and staff about what they know about American Indians, they wouldn’t know a whole lot other than what they see in movies and on TV which are not typically accurate portrayals of Indians,” Gordon says. “I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to have that kind of exposure.”
Gordon says the exposure is particularly important as the events are focused on Native Americans of the Northeast. The dancers are various members of the Six Nations Iroquois confederacy.
“I think a lot of times when people watch movies or TV and Indians are shown on TV if they aren’t contemporary Indians they tend to depict western Indians and I think they learn that not everyone wears the big headdresses,” Gordon says. “They get a bit more appreciation for the differences between tribes.”
There are 562 federally recognized Indian reservations, meaning diversity among Native Americans.
For instance, the dances presented by the dancers were social dances rather than ceremonial and invite people to join in.
“The dances are fun and very simple and through the explanations I give that I think they’ll gain knowledge and getting people involved,” says Sherri Waterman-Hopper, one of the Haudenosaunee singers who is from the Onondaga Nation near Syracuse, N.Y.
The dances that Waterman-Hopper and the others performed were designed to give thanks and a way for people to get together. The dances included the stomp, fish and women’s dances.
“I hope (people) learn the culture, to have joy about our history and to bring awareness to these individuals,” says associate director of diversity initiatives Erica Acosta. “They are here but sometimes they get so far back in people’s minds that they are overseen and they are very much a part of our culture and traditions.”