LCSC celebrates 25 Years of Native American Awareness Week
LEWISTON, Idaho - For the 25th consecutive year, Lewis-Clark State College will be the site of Native American Awareness Week. The week of activities and explorations of Native American culture kicks off Monday, March 5 and continues through Friday, March 9. This year's theme is "Celebrating 25 Years."
"The purpose of Native American Awareness Week is to promote an understanding of Native American cultures and peoples, along with promoting multiculturalism, with a focus on tribes from the Northwest," said Bob Sobotta, Director of LCSC Native American/Minority Student Services. "Native American Awareness Week also provides participants an opportunity to learn from Native peoples about different aspects of tradition, leadership, education and history which they may not have been exposed to otherwise."
The week features a number of presentations, performances, the annual Friendship Banquet, and two powwows. Activities start on March 5 with the Mentor Artist Playwright Project at the LCSC Silverthorne Theatre at 7 p.m., featuring Native American actors reading plays written by students from Lapwai High School.
On March 6 there will be a mini powwow at the LCSC Activity Center at 10 a.m. for area fourth grade elementary classes.
Four presentations are scheduled for March 7 at the Williams Conference Center, starting at 9 a.m. with featured speaker Dr. Beth Piatote's discussion of "Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature." Piatote is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at the University of California Berkeley and is currently working on a book focused on Nez Perce texts and translation. As a visiting scholar, Piatote is being sponsored through the Humanities Division and the Rosehill Estate.
Also on March 7, in collaboration with Women's History Month at LCSC, "The Art of Weaving" will be presented at 10:30 a.m., featuring Nez Perce women who will discuss the craft of weaving and its legacy for Nez Perce people and families.
At 1:30 p.m. LCSC Humanities and Nez Perce Language Professor Dr. Harold Crook will facilitate the "Nez Perce Language Student Panel" featuring five Nez Perce students who are in the Nez Perce Language Minor program. Crook and student Michael Wasson will provide information on their research and works with the Phinney Nez Perce Texts.
The day wraps up at 3 p.m. with an honoring in memory of Dr. James Tarter with a "Native American Literature Panel" of students and professors. Tarter was well respected for his teaching and work with all students. The presentation is facilitated by Dr. Piatote.
Wednesday night at 7 p.m., Native American Music award-winning musician and writer Arigon Starr will perform in concert at the Silverthorne Theatre. Starr is a Kickapoo Tribal member from Oklahoma who now works on her music, writing, acting and radio theatre in Los Angeles. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youth and will be sold at the door. LCSC students and staff will be admitted free with a valid LCSC ID card.
Preceding the concert, an Art Auction will begin and continue through the week's activities with the funds going toward the Nez Perce Language Scholarship Fund.
Three more sessions, along with the annual Friendship Banquet, will be held on March 8, all at the Williams Conference Center. Presentations for the day begin at 9:00 a.m. with "Native Americans and the Entertainment Industry", featuring Arigon Starr.
At 10:30 a.m., Park Curator Bob Chenoweth will present "Care of Ethnographic Collections at the Nez Perce National Historical Park." The presentation will provide information on the variety of collections and the history and research involved with each collection.
The final presentation of the day at 1:30 p.m., "Enhancing Wellness in the Midst of a Busy Life", features Bill Hayne, the Education Division’s Director of Field Experience and a training leader in Indian Education and Diversity issues.
The Friendship Banquet will be at 6 p.m. and includes presentations of the NAAW Lifetime Achievement Award, the Isaac "Ike" Wilson Memorial Scholarship, and other scholarships. To help raise money for the Wilson Memorial Scholarship, LCSC Native American Club members are selling raffle tickets for $1 each. Tickets also can be purchased at the Native American/Minority Student Services office in room 214 of Reid-Centennial Hall or at the Pi'amkinwaas House, located at 1112 7th St. The winners of the raffle will be announced at the powwow Friday night.
Also during the day, the LCSC Native American Alumni Chapter will hold a chapter meeting and social at 4 p.m. in the upstairs conference room of the LCSC Activity Center.
The week of activities concludes on March 9 with the 25th annual LCSC Powwow at the Activity Center. It begins at 7 p.m. and runs until midnight.
Sobotta said the LCSC Native American Club and the Social Sciences Division were the key programs who instituted Native American Awareness Week in 1988. According to Sobotta, Dr. Steve Evans and Dr. Alan Marshall were both Native American Studies Professors at the time who took the lead in starting the event, and continue to support it even though they are both retired.
Sponsors for the week include LCSC, the LCSC Native American Club, the Idaho Humanities Council, Associated Students of LCSC, the Nez Perce Tribe, Pi'amkinwaas, the Humanities Division and the Rosehill Estate, and the Clearwater River Casino and Resort.
The public is invited to all events, which are free except for the concert performance.
For more information contact Bob Sobotta, LCSC Director of Native American/Minority Student Services, at (208) 792-2812.