The inaugural Native American Heritage Month celebration hosted by Muskegon Community
College will feature filmmakers, informative lectures, and an art exhibit during the month of November.
“This celebration is important not only for Native Americans, but all Americans, because we all
need to learn more about indigenous peoples’ contributions – both past and present – that continue to shape
our society,” said Hollie Benson, an MCC faculty member and coordinator of the inaugural Native
American Heritage Month celebration.
An MCC organizing committee is partnering with The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians to plan
In conjunction with the Native American Heritage Month activities, local artist Larry Gouine will
have a photo exhibit, “Native Visions,” on display at the Dogwood Center Lobby Gallery in Fremont.
His exhibit includes a collection of dramatic photographs that provide a view of the daily life and cultural
traditions of Native American community members. From the milestones of life, to the elaborate
preparations and celebration of traditional dance and music, Gouine provides vivid colorful images and
powerful monochromatic portraits to share his culture with visitors to the exhibit.
All the events are free and will be held in 1100 Stevenson Center unless otherwise noted. All
events are open to the public. They include:
Thursday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.: The film “Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience,”
will be hosted by Audrey Geyer, who produced the one-hour documentary on Midwest Native American
Friday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m.: Chris Eyre, an award-winning film and television director and producer,
will creen and introduce his film “The Seventh Fire, “ followed by a question-and- answer period. He also
will discuss his work and Native Americans in film and television today. The event takes place at the
Orchard View High School Auditorium.
Saturday, Nov. 12, 11:30 a.m.” Eyre will MCC campus to show and discuss his film, “Smoke
Signals,” based on Sherman Alexie’s book, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.”
Monday, Nov. 14, 8:30-9:30 a.m.: Michael Johnson, MCC English instructor, will discuss “Native
American Mythology and Folklore.”
Wednesday, Nov. 16, 10:30-11:30 a.m.. Linda L. Cypret Kilbourne from the Michigan Coalition
Against Racism in Sports and Media will discuss Native American sports mascots.
The organization is a grassroots project founded by Native Americans working to end
discriminatory Native American references in the use of mascots and logos.
Thursday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.: Matthew L.M. Fletcher, professor of law at Michigan State University
College of Law and director of the Indigenous Law and Policy Center, will discuss “Indian Children in
Fletcher is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians located in
Peshawbestown, Michigan. He is the reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement, Third, The
Law of American Indians and sits as the Chief Justice of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Supreme Court.
“Indian children have been a focus of federal Indian affairs at least since the Framing of the
Constitution,” Fletcher said. “The Founding Generation initially used Indian children as military and
diplomatic pawns, but eventually undertook a duty of protection to Indian children. Sadly, the United States
then catastrophically distorted that duty of protection by deviating from its obligations through imposing
abusive boarding schools upon Indian children, and then by breaking up Indian families.”
“The Indian Child Welfare Act embodies the modern duty of protection, now characterized as a
federal trust relationship. The federal trust obligation to Indian children is now as closely realized as it ever
has been throughout American history.”
Friday, Nov. 18: Christian Takes Gun Parrish, a.k.a. “Supaman,” a Native American dancer and
innovative hip-hop artist will perform at 7 p.m. in Bartels-Rode Gymnasium on the MCC campus.
A member of the Apsaalooke Nation from Montana, he has dedicated his life to empowering and
spreading a message of hope through culture and music. He founded the Native American hip-hop group
Rezawrecktion, whose first album, “It’s Time,” won a Native American Music Award in 2005. Since then,
he has released four solo albums, and received acclaim, including the MTV Artist of the Week, for his
ability to simultaneously fuse singing, rapping, DJ-ing and fancy dance.
On Saturday, Nov. 5, the movie “Smoke Signals” was shown in the Dogwood Center for
Performing Arts Black Box in Fremont. The screenplay was written by Sherman Alexie and the film won a
Sundance Audience Award and the Sundance Filmmakers Trophy.
Featured Image: The film, “Our Fires Still Burn,” will be shown on Thursday, Nov. 10 at MCC, hosted by its producer Audrey Geyer. The documentary examines Midwest Native American role models.