Native American Awareness Week will be observed at university

Native American Awareness Week will be observed at university The University of South Dakota's annual observance of Native American Awareness Week will be March 26 to 30. The focus of the week-long series of events is to encourage the awareness of Native American culture and issues and to promote retention of the Native American traditions and culture. All of the activities are sponsored, organized, operated and funded by students who are primarily members of the Tiopsaye Student Council.

Among the various activities planned for the week is the fourth annual Building Bridges Conference to be held March 30-31 at the Coyote Student Center on the USD campus. The theme of the conference is "Walking with Balance: Integrating Biculturalism in Education." This is the first in a series of three conferences that will focus on creating a healthy educational environment for Native American students. This year the focus will be on high school education.

The Building Bridges Conference is a joint collaboration of the Students of Color in Psychology Program (SCIP) and the BRIDGE committee. BRIDGE is the acronym for Building Relationships, Integrating Diversity and Growth in Education. The purposes of the conference include providing mentors and role models for ethnic minority students, models for multicultural education and opportunities to build strong networks of support for ethnic minority students.

Native American Awareness Week will conclude with the 29th annual University of South Dakota Wacipi. The purpose of the wacipi is to honor Native American artists. The wacipi will be held at the Vermillion High School from March 31 to April 1. Registration is at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 31, with the grand entry at 1 and 7 p.m. On Sunday, April 1, the grand entry will be at noon.

"This is a traditional pow-wow that allots time for observances and honorings that serve to enrich the nature of the pow-wow," said Doyle Pipe On Head, the USD Native American activities coordinator. "There will also be many booths featuring tribal arts and crafts."

For more information, contact Doyle Pipe On Head at (605) 677-6875. For more information regarding the Building Bridges Conference, contact Kelly Le Beaux or Melissa Hiller at (605) 677-5353.

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