Movies, lectures, art exhibit will focus on Native American heritage during November

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

the events.

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

role models.

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

American History.”

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.

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