A Celebration of Native American Culture and Tradition

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

The 13th Annual Native American Speakers' Forum will be held in the Memorial Union Ballroom on Friday, Oct. 24.

The forum is part of two days of Native American events, hosted by Michigan Technological University and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, which culminate in the Spirit of the Harvest Powwow on Saturday.

"The forum and powwow are an opportunity for community members to learn about the Native American cultures in the region through a relaxed, fun event," said Lori Muhlig, Native American outreach coordinator at Michigan Tech.

All events for the weekend are free and open to the public.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the forum will include speakers and opening and closing ceremonies, presented by the Four Thunders Drum Group of Baraga and Lac Vieux Desert.

Featured presenters will be Lemyra DeBruyn on "How the Eagle Books Got Their Wings"; Sam English on "Healing Through Arts"; and two motivational speakers, Iris PrettyPaint and Lowery Begay. Begay will also perform a traditional hoop dance. There will be an hour break for lunch at noon.

The 13th Annual Spirit of the Harvest Powwow, also hosted by Michigan Tech and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, will be held at the Gates Tennis Center on Saturday, Oct. 25.

There will be a break from 5 to 7 p.m. for dinner.

The Grand Entry, in which a full color guard will lead dancers and participants in full native dress, will take place at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Presentations will include a variety of native dance, music and exhibitions. Sam English will present a "Healing Through the Arts" workshop from 2 to 3:30 p.m. The renowned hoop dance and flute exhibition, featuring Lowery Begay, will take place at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Punkin Shananaquet will present the Pink Shawl Project, aimed at breast cancer awareness, at 4:30 p.m. Shananaquet is a member of the Potawatomi and Ojibwe tribes.

Members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community will serve as the color guard, with Donald Chosa as the head veteran dancer. Other dancers will include the head male dancer, Roger LaBine, an Ojibwe tribal member of Lac Vieux Desert. Youth head dancers will be Keweenaw Bay Indian Community representatives Ethan Smith and Tashina Emery-Kauppila, who is also the 2008 Miss Keweenaw Bay Indian Princess.

Drummers for the powwow include the Four Thunders Drum Group from Baraga and Lac Vieux Desert, as well as the Loon Travelers. Stone Boy will be the host drum.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.