American Indian cultures celebrated


Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

In light of Native American Day on Oct. 14, many SDSU groups provided movies, lectures and conferences focusing on American Indian issues.

The Consider the Century conference focuses on American Indian perspectives over the past 100 years. The 14th annual conference in Volstorff Ballroom was last Friday.

Dr. Janet Claymore-Ross is from the Cheyenne River Reservation. She is executive director of the Prairie Lakes Educational cooperative at Dakota State University.

She spoke about education and its affect, positive and negative, on tribal communities.

Though education seems to be a positive thing, it unfortunately did not start that way for the American Indian, she said.

Government officials who saw American Indian cultures as a threat commissioned churches to go into reservations, she said.

The churches not only attempted to convert tribes, but they also took away tribal language, music and culture.

Of about 500 of these languages, 250 are considered dormant, said Dr. William Harjo Bray of the Natchez and the Muscogee nations. He is president of the Sisseton Wahpeton Community College.

Only 60 people use another 200 languages.

A speaker from the Crow Tribe of Montana talked about people taking things from American Indian memorial sites.

For the last several hundred years, scientists and anthropologists have stolen body parts and funerary objects from memorial sites not protected by the government, said Faith Bad Bear, assistant curator of ethnology at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

She said lack of trust between tribes and museums causes conflicts, which could be resolved through communication.

She told the audience, “You don’t show the respect for us.”

Buffalo also were taken from American Indians, said Donald Lake of the Santee Sioux Tribe of Nebraska. He is an American Indian Economic Development Consultant.

“The Indian has a 10,000 year history as steward of this animal,” he said. More buffalo are coming back to reservations through community action projects around the country.

#1.887883:4226582919.jpg:nativeamerican.jpg:Keith Bear, traditionalist flute player and storyteller, played last Tuesday at Jacks? Place. Bear, of the Mandan-Hidatsu tribe, has performed worldwide. :