Native American Awareness Week features variety of activities March 22-26 at USD Guest speakers, art exhibits, a Wacipi and a tribute to the late distinguished artist Robert Penn will be among the activities scheduled at the Native American Awareness Week March 22-26 at The University of South Dakota.
The focus of this week-long series of events is to encourage the awareness of Native American culture, issues, and to promote retention of the Native American traditions and culture. The culmination of the week's activities is the annual Wacipi (Pow-wow).
The 27th annual Wacipi, "Honoring our Elders (Tankaka Oyate ki wicagluonihanpi)" will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 27-28, at Vermillion High School (1001 E. Main). The grand entry will be at 1 and 7 p.m. on Saturday and at noon on Sunday. USD Professor Wayne Evans will serve as master of ceremonies.
All activities are student organized, operated and funded. The primary sponsoring group, formerly called the Tiospaye Council, renamed itself The Tisopaye Student Council during the 1998-99 academic year.
Besides the Wacipi, other highlights include:
Monday, March 22
A poetry reading and potluck supper at the Native American Cultural Center. Sponsored by the USD English Department and IAIS, the potluck dinner begins at 5 p.m.
Native American poet Allison Hedge Coke will give a poetry reading at 7 p.m. Coke, a poet, writer and artist from Rapid City, teaches for the South Dakota Arts Council and various college groups.
After the poetry reading, a staff and student basketball game will be held at the DakotaDome beginning at 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 23
Jerome Kills Small will present "Native American Cultural Storytelling" from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Coyote Student Center Hoy A Room.
Wednesday, March 24
Parnell Necklace and family will present a Native American cultural exhibit in the Rushmore Room of the Coyote Student Center. A traditional Ihanktonwan-Yankton Dakota Sioux family, Necklace and his family live in Vermillion.
Parnell and his family are acquainted with all types of Native American pow-wow and other songs, the many types of pow-wow dances, cultural story-telling, flute-playing, drum making, hide tanning and much more.
Thursday, March 25
USD nursing students will host a Mini Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 pm. in the Coyote Student Center. Loreli DeCora, a USD alumnus, will present "Native American Educational Values" at 10 a.m. in the Rushmore Room of the Coyote Student Center.
USD fine arts students will present a Native American art exhibit in the Rushmore Room of the Coyote Student Center from noon to 3 p.m.
Friday, March 26
USD Dean of Fine Arts John Day and Patricia Kelly will present a "Tribute to Robert Penn" in the Rushmore Room of the Coyote Student Center. A lecture will begin at 1 p.m. and a slide show will be held at 2 p.m. A Robert Penn display will be shown from 3 to 5 p.m. in the W.H. Over Museum on campus.