CNAS celebrates culture


Mary McDonough

November kicks off Native American Heritage Month and the Center for Native American studies (CNAS) has arranged a variety of activities to celebrate and raise awareness of the historic

The events began at 6 p.m. onNov. 2, in the Mead Auditorium with a screening of “Older than America,” a film meant to show the damage done to native culture through American Indian Boarding Schools. This weekend also offers the annual First Nations Food Taster from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday Nov. 9. Lastly, Annie Humphrey from the Leech Lake Reservation in Northern Minnesota will preform at a concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Black Box Theater. The concert is $5 for the general public and $1 for students.

Native American Heritage Month is more than just a time for celebration, it’s an opportunity to bring many issues for the Native community to light, senior Native American studies major Grey Shea said.

“When people show up, it shows how many people actually care about learning,” Shea said. “This is huge visibility
for us.”

Michigan and the Great Lakes area is home to the Anishinaabe people, a tribe that follows the governance of the Three Fires Confederacy focusing on speech and action. Anishinaabe recognizes that everything is alive from animals, medicine, plants to stones.
Assistant professor of Native American Studies Judd Sojourn explained that the ways of the Three Fires Confederacy are something that has stood the test of time.

“People are part of the Earth and the ways of making decisions that have always been used in the Great Lakes are still alive,” he said.

While each tribe has their own unique way of celebrating Native American Heritage Month, Sojourn explained that the Anishinaabe tribe reaches out farther than just the U.P. Great Lakes area.

“If you picture a bird with its wingtips spread out, those wingtips reach all the way to Quebec and all the way into the Western Plains,” Sojourn said. “With the heart of that bird, the Anishinaabe nation is the
Great Lakes.”