LEWISTON, Idaho – Lewis-Clark State College will celebrate its 36th annual Native American Awareness Week on March 13-17 with a variety of speakers, events, a banquet, and powwows. This year’s event has the theme “Resilience & Vision.”
All events are free and open to the public.
A mini powwow for area fourth grade classes will kick off events on March 14 at the P1FCU Activity Center. The powwow is scheduled for 10-11:15 a.m.
That evening, the documentary “Sisters Rising” will be shown at 6 p.m. at the LC State Center for Arts & History, located at 415 Main St. in Lewiston. The documentary follows six Native American women who are fighting to restore personal and tribal sovereignty in the face of ongoing sexual violence against Indigenous women. The showing is at 6-7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a virtual discussion with co-producers Jaida Grey Eagle and Willow O’Feral.
On March 15, there will be a Language Bowl. In collaboration with LC State Nez Perce Language classes and teachers, along with Nez Perce elders, students and teams from area high schools and colleges will compete. The competition will focus on the Nez Perce Language with the categories to be set based on the number of participants. LC State student Justin Rabago-Johnson will lead the event at the Williams Conference Center (WCC).
At 1:30-2:45 p.m., Nez Perce actor Kellen Lewis will perform “According to Coyote,” a play written by John Kaufman. The anthology of tales features the legendary hero of Native American mythology. “According to Coyote” is an encounter with the richness and vitality of Native American culture using traditions of music, dance and theater. The performance will be held in the Silverthorne Theatre on campus.
March 16 features a full day at the WCC, starting with a discussion of the Nimiipuu Community Development Fund at 9 a.m. This fund helps facilitate financial independence by enhancing the personal and entrepreneurial capacity of the Nez Perce Reservation and surrounding communities. Jonelle Whitman, executive director of the fund, and board member Kermit Mankiller will provide an overview and discussion of the fund.
At 10:30 a.m. will be a panel discussion on “LCSC Native American Alumni Women & Entrepreneurship.” The panelists will discuss their business and entrepreneurial journeys in relationship to education, culture, leadership, and visions for the future.
Four LC State Native American students will be featured on the noon-1 p.m. panel. The students – Sara George, Rabago-Johnson, Cameron Paradise, and Kelani Smith – will discuss their educational journeys in relationship to culture, leadership, and visions for the future.
Another panel discussion, this one called “Nimiipuu Ha’ayat,” will start at 1:30 p.m. The panel will feature Nez Perce women adoptees and features Agnes Weakus, Linda Dufford, Trae BlackEagle, Lucinda Simpson, and Velda Penney discussing their stories of the Indian Adoption Era (1958-67). Myra Campbell will serve as the panel’s facilitator.
The events for March 16 wrap up with the LC State Native American Alumni Chapter meeting at 4:30 p.m., followed by the annual Native American Awareness Week Friendship Reception at 6 p.m. Achievements of LC State students will be acknowledged and the annual Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented.
The week wraps up on March 17 with the Closing Powwow, starting at 7 p.m. at the P1FCU Activity Center. The evening also includes the Isaac (Ike) Wilson, Marshall/Watters and Andrew L. Smith Memorial Scholarships and the LC State Alumni Chapter Scholarship Raffle. The raffle includes more than 30 prizes, including a $400 bundle of gift cards, tipi, jetboat tickets, Pendleton and Eighth Generation blankets, gift cards and baskets from shops at Newberry Square in Lewiston, a 40-inch television and more. Ticket holders do not need to be present to win.
Raffle tickets may be purchased from LC State Native American Club Members, at the Pi’amkinwaas (1112 7th St. in Lewiston) or at the Native American, Minority & Veterans’ Services office located in Rooms 210 and 212 of Reid Centennial Hall on campus.
LC State’s Native American Awareness Week is sponsored by LC State’s Social Science Division, Center for Teaching & Learning and Alumni Association, along with the Idaho Humanities Council, the Associated Students of LCSC, Women’s History Month, the LC State Center for Arts & History, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Clearwater River Casino and Lodge, and is presented by the LC State Native American Club.