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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Cultures, foods presentation kicks off Native American Heritage Month at NMU

As November approaches, NMU is preparing for Native American History Month and the celebrations that come with it.

“Those Who Sustain Us: Native Cultures and Foods” is one presentation among many during the month that is free for the community.

The presentation will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Mead Auditorium.

Joseph Bruchac is an Abenaki author that will be presenting at the event. Bruchac has published more than 130 books for both adults and children, poems and music to aid in his story telling. He holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature.

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Bruchac is Abenaki Indian, English and Slovak. “Much of what I do focuses on the Indian side,” Bruchac said.

His presentation, “Those Who Sustain Us: Native Cultures and Foods,” will reflect an Iroquois nation term that encompasses corn, bean and squash known as “Three Sisters,” Bruchac said.

The presentation will take a closer look at the indigenous North American peoples’ traditional diet and plants.

“The traditional diet was much more healthful for Native people and many current health problems [such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes] that are all too common in American Indian communities can be linked to the separation of our cultures from our native foods,” Bruchac said.

There will be two more performances of Bruchac’s here at NMU, “Sharing the Gift: Understanding & Teaching Contemporary Native American Literature” and “An Evening with Joseph Bruchac.”

“Sharing the Gift: Understanding & Teaching Contemporary Native American Literature” will be at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Whitman Hall Commons.

Bruchac said he will bring truth to some misunderstandings in American Indian literature and help the community to understand the work of Native American writers.

“An Evening with Joseph Bruchac” will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 in Jamrich 103.

“[The presentation will] consist of my doing storytelling, reading from some of my own work, performing some music, followed by a time for questions and answers with the audience,” Bruchac said.

Bruchac said he would like his presentations to be enjoyable and for his audience to have a good time and learn.

“Traditional stories are almost always told for at least two purposes: one is to entertain and the second is to teach,” Bruchac said.

According to April Lindala, director of the Center for Native American Studies, it is a privelage to have Bruchac visit NMU.

“He has text that is associated with people’s relationship with food,” Lindala said. “[Bruchac] is a notable figure in Native American literature and we feel very honored.”

For more information on the events, call the Center for Native American Studies at (906) 227-1397.

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