MARQUETTE - The Center for Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University is getting ready for a month-long celebration for Native American Heritage month. Throughout the month of November, events will take place across campus to as part of the nation-wide observance.
The highlight of the month and often the biggest draw is the 10th Annual First Nations Food Taster, scheduled for Friday at the Jacobetti Center. Attendees get to try out traditional and contemporary native foods, including a variety of wild game, like bison stew and venison meatballs, fry bread, three sisters casserole (corn, beans and squash) and wild rice dishes. This year, wild rice collected by eight NMU students participating in the Wild Rice Coalition Camp will be used in the dishes. The popular event usually attracts 300-350 people.
"We use this as a fundraiser for the native student group as they plan their powwow for the winter semester," Lindala said.
Roger LaBine of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians demonstrates how to make a pole for ricing at the annual Wild Rice Coalition camp at Lac Vieux Desert this past September. (Photo courtesy of the Center for Native American Studies)
Wild rice is seen after winnowing. (Photos courtesy of the Center for Native American Studies)
Parching wild rice over a fire is pictured. (Photos courtesy of the Center for Native American Studies)
The First Nations Food Taster begins at 5 p.m. Friday. Tickets for the food taster can be purchased in advance in 112 Whitman Hall or at the door. Tickets are $12 for the general public and $5 for NMU students. Tickets at the door are $15 for the general public and $7 for NMU students and children under 13.
Throughout the month a film festival that features both historical fiction and documentaries. The highlight of which is a showing of the film Unrepentant: Kevin Annett and Canada's Genocide and a discussion with the filmmaker. Annett's documentary film explores the atrocities committed at residental Indian schools in Canada.
"He (Annett) has been on the recieving end of real predudicial decisions and although he is not native, he has an interesting story to tell about trying to get the word about residental schools in Canada."
The event takes place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 16 in 103 Jamrich Hall.
Also being shown is the film The Only Good Indian at 7 p.m. on Nov. 9 in 103 Jamrich Hall. The film also covers the topic of Native American boarding schools.
Also visiting campus will be Jessica Rickert, the first American Indian female dentist in the country and an inductee into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame on Friday, Nov. 12. She will speak about Native American health issues and her work.
"We are really delighted to have her come to campus," Lindala said. "She has quite a family history and she herself in a way has kind of made history. I personally look forward to what she has to share."
A majority of the events are organized and carried out by the Native American Student Association but support from campus and the community makes it possible.
"I think it's important to recognize that the Native American Student Association do a lot of work to make these events happen," Lindala said. "But also support for these events is campus wide and community wide. On behalf of the center and the student groups, we could not be successful without that community support."
"It's important to showcase a little bit of cultural heritage, that is the intent of Native American heritage month, but to have the community step in and say, 'Yes, we will support those efforts,' really underlines that this is a cooperative effort."
All events are free unless otherwise noted and open to the public. For more information, contact the Center for Native American Studies at 227-1397.
Claire Abent can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.