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Group celebrates Native American heritage

| Tuesday, November 10, 2015

NativeAmerican_webEric Richelsen

Notre Dame is gearing up to celebrate Native American Heritage Month this November. Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) and the Native American Student Association of Notre Dame (NASAND) have collaborated to sponsor several events throughout November in celebration of Native American Heritage Month, according to Iris Outlaw, director of MSPS.

The first event was a MSPS “First Friday” event, which invites students to discuss and learn about different topics of diversity, Outlaw said. For this particular event kicking off Native American Heritage Month, Sacramento Knoxx, a Native American community activist who does social work through the arts, performed his work for the event. Knoxx also performed at the Notre Dame Center for Arts and Culture.

Outlaw said there will be a heritage dinner Nov. 16 to commemorate the history and significance of this month. The dinner will be at Legends, where traditional food from different Native American nations will be served, and Marcus Winchester, a historian for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, will be the keynote speaker.

Additionally, MSPS will be tweeting “did you know” facts about Native Americans all month, according to Outlaw.

Outlaw said this is an important month for the University to celebrate, and all students are welcome to celebrate and attend this month’s events.

“One of the things that people tend to forget are the Native Americans and the contributions that they made … you would almost say that Native Americans are the invisible minority,” Outlaw said. “Also, appreciation [is important] because mainly … what we perceive Native Americans to be like are definitely negative stereotypes, or just aligning them with casinos. But Native Americans have done so much more and so that’s why it’s really important that we celebrate and acknowledge what they’re doing.”

Senior Rosalie DePaola, co-president of NASAND, said other events will include an indigenous crafts night Tuesday night in the Notre Dame Room in LaFortune Student Center, where students can learn how to make three crafts from three different tribes, and a celebratory bonfire Nov. 20.

DePaola said this month will educate students on the Native American culture.

“What we want to do is share our culture with members of the Notre Dame community but try to do it in a way that everybody can understand,” DePaola said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit difficult to translate our culture for everybody … A lot of people don’t really think about us as normal college students. When you think of a Native American you think of the headdress and pow wows, which is part of our culture, but we also want to emphasize … [that] we’re just normal people in society, too.”

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