BIG RAPIDS – Nestled in a region rich in Native American culture and history, Ferris State University plans to bring some of that culture and history to life for students, faculty, staff and members of the community.
As part of Native American Heritage Month activities, Ferris’ Office of Multicultural Student Services is sponsoring a powwow, a live song-and-dance exhibition presented by Native American performers. The powwow, a five-star campus event, takes place at 6 p.m. Nov. 10 in the Rankin Student Center Dome Room.
“We like to feature every year a tribe nationwide or from right here in Michigan as part of our Native American Heritage Month events,” said OMSS Assistant Director Michael Wade, whose team is billing the powwow as a one-of-a-kind experience designed for cultural, educational and entertainment value. “This will be a nice interactive activity for students, faculty and staff to come out and participate in and enjoy.”
That same day, OMSS has scheduled a Native American Arts and Crafts Workshop, which also begins at 6 p.m. The workshop is an opportunity for visitors to showcase their creativity, actively take part in a Native American activity and create their own dreamcatcher.
One of the defining characteristics of OMSS-sponsored events is an opportunity for participants to engage in productive discussion, Wade added. This year’s Native American Heritage Month featured discussion is “Native American Culture in Michigan” at 11 a.m. on Nov. 17 in the Rankin Student Center Territorial Room (155).
“We are looking to do a dialog discussion about being a minority here and specifically dealing with issues of Native American students and culture,” Wade said. “Ferris is in a very unique location. We have an opportunity for outreach and a chance to bring that to our students. We try to look at creative ways to educate the campus about cultures in Michigan. It’s an eye-opening thing for a lot of people to see these are our neighbors and they’re part of our community.”
All events are free and open to the public. Anyone with questions about Native American Heritage Month should contact OMSS at (231) 591-2617.