November is American Indian Heritage Month, and Minnesota State University Moorhead is celebrating, with many events planned throughout the month.
Thursday, Nov. 7: Laidman (JR) Fox, Jr., spiritual advisor from Spirit Lake, N.D., will conduct an opening pipe ceremony at noon in front of the library, to welcome in American Indian Heritage Month on the MSUM campus. At 2 p.m., there will be a discussion on White Earth Constitutional Refurm in CMU Room 203.This discussion will review the need for constitutional reform at White Earth and other Indian nations, the process White Earth is currently engaged in, and a brief look at what might happen if the Proposed Constitution is approved or rejected. Terry Janis serves as Project Manager of the Constitution Reform Process for the White Earth Nation.
Friday, Nov. 8: There will be an Indigenous Peoples’ Symposium from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in CMU Room 101. Dr. Erma Vizenor, Chairwoman of the White Earth Band of Chippewa, will describe the importance of constitutional reform for White Earth and other tribal nations. Professor Tadd Johnson, director of American Indian Studies at University of Minnesota Duluth, will explore 400 years of U.S.-tribal relations. From 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., Dr. Kandace Creel Falcon, will discuss “Reflecting on Experiential Ways of Knowing, Institutional Violence and the Pathways to Diverse Student Empowerment.”
Monday, Nov. 11: Jim Green of the Pine Ridge Oglala will present “Revitalizing Native American Languages One at a Time” in CMU Room 208 at 2 p.m. When the Maoris of New Zealand revitalized their language, it wasn’t the elders and fluent speakers who led the way. It was people – like you – who learned to speak the language through the Silent Way and then created preschool ‘language nests’ for the children. If interested, come see how it works for Lakota, Dakota, Anishinabe and more. At 3 :30 p.m., Lakota artist Bernice Catches will present a session on making Native American beadwork; attendees will make a set of their own beaded earrings or a bracelet to take home with them. Supplies and band-aids will be provided.
Tuesday, Nov. 12: American Indian Student Association members will lead a Dreamcatcher Craft Workshop at 1:30 p.m. in CMU Room 216. In this workshop participants will create a dreamcatcher using twine, beads, etc. In Ojibwe tradition, only the good dreams pass through the web and the bad dreams become entangled. When the sun rises and the first rays of sunlight touch the dreamcatcher, the bad dreams dissolve.
Monday, Nov. 18: Members of the American Indian Student Association will lead participants in traditional Native American handgames at 4 p.m. in CMU Room 101. They will provide instruction on rules and strategies as well as play games with participants. Handgames require observation, strategy, intuitive skills, team effort and fun.
Tuesday, Nov. 19: Dr. Clifford Canku, Dakota Studies Professor at North Dakota State University, will lead a session on “Dakota POW Letters at 1 p.m. in CMU Room 101. Dr. Canku will unveil the history of North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa Native American prisoners and their families by translating Dakota letters. The letters were written in the Dakota language and offer a glimpse into the experiences of the prisoners of the 1862 Dakota Conflict. As a native speaker of Dakota, Canku is leading a team translating the letters from Dakota into English for publication.
Wednesday, Nov. 20: The movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” will be screened at 6:30 p.m. in CMU Room 101. Beginning just after the bloody Sioux victory over General Custer at Little Big Horn, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” intertwines the perspectives of three characters: Charles Eastman, a young, Dartmouth-educated, Sioux doctor held up as living proof of the alleged success of assimilation; Sitting Bull, the proud Lakota chief who refuses to submit to U.S. government policies designed to strip his people of their identity and their sacred land; and Senator Henry Dawe, who was one of the architects of the government policy on Indian affairs.
All events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided at most events. These activities are co-sponsored by MSUM American Indian Student Activities, American Indian Student Association (AISA), MSUM Student Senate, White Earth Program, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and Fargo Native American Commission.