NSU students celebrate American Indian Heritage Month

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
11/09/2010 07:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
NortheasternState University students take part in a “Moc Walk” on Nov. 1 in downtownTahlequah, Okla., to commemorate National American Indian Heritage Month. Someof the students who walked included, from left, Mallory Buckley, Danielle Culpand Miss Native American Student Association 2010-11 Crystal Perry. WILLCHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Native American students attending Northeastern State University met Nov. 1 at the Cherokee Courthouse square for a “moc walk” to commemorate National American Indian Heritage Month.

In moccasins and barefooted, the students walked four blocks from the square to the NSU Centennial Plaza where they spoke about the month’s significance and shared the times and dates of events planned for November.

Asa Lewis, who is Kiowa/Cherokee and the interim student coordinator for the NSU Center for Tribal Studies, took part in the walk. She also advises four of the six Native American organizations on campus – Alpha Pi Omega, a Native American sorority; the Native American Student Association; Indian University Scholar Society; and the NSU American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

She said the Native groups formed a committee to plan events for November, with each organization agreeing to coordinate at least one activity. Phi Sigma Nu, a Native American fraternity, and American Indian Business Leaders members also participated in the walk that was organized by Alpha Pi Omega.


“We wanted to start the month off honoring all tribes, where we’ve come from, how far we’ve come. We wanted everyone to wear their moccasins throughout the day, and when we came together for the ‘moc walk’ we wanted them to wear their traditional wear,” Lewis said. “We start here (courthouse) because it’s something from our past and we end up at Centennial Plaza, which is symbolic of how far we’ve come.”

A fry bread-eating contest sponsored by NASA and a stickball game also were held the first week of November.

On Nov. 18, NASA students are slated to host a storyteller event with four local storytellers from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the meeting room of the Place Where They Play on the Sequoyah Schools campus. The following day Native IUSS students are set to host area grade school students for arts and crafts presentations at NSU. The importance of a college education also will be discussed.

At Centennial Park, student Kryste Benge, Muscogee Creek/Choctaw, read a statement about what National American Indian Heritage Month is, how it started and what the month means to her and her Alpha Pi Omega sisters. She said at one time this country’s Indian heritage was celebrated for only one day and then a week. The many contributions by Native Americans could not be honored in one day or one week, she said, so in 1990 President George H.W. Bush established November as National American Indian Heritage Month.

She also mentioned the successes tribes are having preserving their cultures and languages, including the Cherokee Nation with its success in preserving its language through a Cherokee language degree program at NSU and its immersion school.

“It’s not just the Cherokees. There are other tribes across the nation that have had similar successes,” said Benge, who graduated from Sequoyah and will graduate from NSU in May with a degree in political science.

She said while growing up in Tahlequah her Native heritage did not hinder her from achieving her goals, but helped her.

“Many Native Americans who do enter college have life challenges that come their way, but because of how we are raised with the core values of our families, we persevere as Native people and also as students,” she said.

She said the values she learned and the “chain of excellence” carried by her and fellow Native students need to be passed down to the following generations.
ᏣᎳᎩ

NSU ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏕᏘᏱᏍᎬ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎯᎠ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎠᏍᏆᎵᎮᏍᏗ

By WILL CHAVEZ
ᎢᎬᏱ ᎦᏙᎩ ᏗᎦᏃᏣᎵᏍᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎻ. ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏰᎵ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᎠ ᎤᏴᏢᎢ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏚᎾᏠᏒ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏓᏱᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ “ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎤᎾᏂᎩ” ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᎹᏰᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᏏᏅᏓ.

ᏧᏣᏬᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᏧᎾᎳᏑᏟ ᎠᎴ ᏂᏚᎾᎳᏑᏢᎾ, ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏒ ᎩᏄᏗ ᎢᏳᏟᎶᏓ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏓᏱᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᎴᏅᎮ ᎠᎴ NSU Centennial Plaza ᎾᎿ ᎤᏂᏃᎮᏢᏅ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏅᏓ ᎤᏍᏆᎸᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏍᏆᎸᎲᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏄᏓᏕᏆ ᎧᎸᎢ.

Asa Lew is, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ Kiowa/ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎴᎲᏍᎩ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎢᏳᏩᎾᎶᎦ ᎾᎿ NSU ᎠᏰᏟ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᏗᎾᎦᏎᏍᏗᏍᎩ, ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᎾᏖᎳᏛ ᎯᎠ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏒᎢ. ᎠᎴᏗᏍᏊ ᏅᎩ ᏯᏂ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏑᏓᎵ ᎨᏒ ᏓᏍᏕᎸᎯᏙᎰ ᏚᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ---Alpha Pi Omega, ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ sorority; ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬᎢ; ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ; ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ NSU ᎠᎹᏱᎵ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ Science ᎠᎴ Engineering ᎤᎾᏓᏡᎬ.

ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎤᎾᏓᏡᏅ ᎠᏂᎧᎻᏗ ᏚᏄᎪᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᏳᎵᏍᏔᏂᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏄᏓᏕᏆ ᎧᎸᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏌᎢ ᏚᎾᏓᏡᎬ ᎣᏏ ᏯᏂᏰᎸᏍᎦ ᏧᎾᎵᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏊᏊ ᎢᏳᏓᎴ ᏱᎩ. PhiSigm a Nu, ᎾᎿ ᎡᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ fraternity, ᎠᎴ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᏗᎦᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᏗ ᏗᎾᏓᏘᏂᏙᎯ ᎠᏁᎳ ᎤᏁᎳᏗᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᎾᏂᎩᏍᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᏅᎯ ᏂᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ Alpha Piom ega.

“ᎣᎦᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎣᎦᎴᏅᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎵᎮᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎾᏂᏅᏍᏓᏢ, ᎾᎿ ᏗᎦᏓᎴᏅ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᏴ ᎢᎦᏂᎩᏒᎢ. ᎣᎦᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᏂᎥ ᎾᎿ ᏧᏣᏬᏗ ᏗᎪᏢᏔᏅ ᏧᎾᎳᏑᎸᏗ ᎤᏙᏓᏆᏗ, ᎠᎴ ᏃᏊ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏳᎾᏓᏟᏌᏅ ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎣᎦᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎪᎯᎦ ᏧᎾᏅᏬᏓ ᏥᏂᏕᎬᏅ ᏧᏠᏯ ᏧᎾᏄᏬᏍᏗᎢ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬ Lew is. “ᎠᎭᏂ ᎣᎦᎴᏅᏓ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏪᏘ ᏧᎾᏓᏱᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ Centennial Plaza, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᏟᎶᏍᏙᏗ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎦᏂᎩᏒ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎸᎢ.”

ᎦᏚ ᏗᏒᎾᏔᏅ ᏧᏂᎩᏍᏗ ᏛᎾᏓᎪᏅᏔᏂ ᎾᎿ NASA ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎤᎾᏁᏦᏅ ᎦᏳᎳ ᎢᎬᏱ ᏒᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ ᏥᎨᏒ ᏅᏓᏕᏆ ᎧᎸᎢ.

ᏄᏓᏕᏆ ᏁᎳᏚᏏᏁ, NASA ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎨᎦᏑᏰᏌ ᎤᎾᏓᏩᏛᎯᏓᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏢᏍᎬ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏅᎩᎭ ᏯᏂ ᎾᎥᏊ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏃᎮᏢᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᏙᎮᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎠᎴᏂᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎢᎪᎯᏓ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏠᎯᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏁᎶᏗ ᎪᏢᏒ Ꮎ ᏏᏉᏲ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ. ᎤᎩᏨᏓᏃ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᏏᏊ ᏗᏂᏩᏛᎯᏙᎮᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏍᏗᎧᏂ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏟᎶᏍᏔᏅᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏃᏢᏅᏅ ᎤᏂᎾᎡᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ NSU. ᏄᎵᏍᎨᏗᏴ ᎯᎠ ᏩᎦᎸᎳᏗᏴ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏛᏂᏃᎮᏟ.

ᎾᎿ Centennial Park, ᏗᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ Kryste Benge, ᎠᎫᏌ/ᎠᏂᏣᏗ, ᎠᎪᎵᏰᏗ ᏄᏂᏪᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎬᎾᎶᎾ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎨᏒ, ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎯᎠ ᏏᏅᏓ ᎧᎸ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ ᎦᏛᎬ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ Alpha piOm ega ᎠᎾᏓᎸᎢᏴᎢ. ᎤᏛᏅᏃ ᎪᎯᎦ ᏥᎨᏒ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏥᏕᎭ ᎢᏗᏴᏫᏯ ᏌᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᎬᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏓᎴᏅᎲ ᏒᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ. ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᎪᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᎪᎸᏔᏅᏒ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏰᎵ Ꮭ ᏌᏊᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎠᎴ ᏒᎾᏙᏓᏆᏍᏗ ᏱᎦᎧᏃᎮᏢᏃᎾ, ᎤᏛᏅᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᎢᏳᏍᏗ 1990 ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ George W. Bush ᎤᏬᏢᏅ ᏄᏓᏕᏆ ᎧᎸ ᎬᎾᏕᎾ ᎠᎹᏰᎵ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸᎢ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎧᎸᎢ.

ᎾᏍᏊ ᎤᏁᏍᏔᏅ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏂᏅᏍᏓᏢ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ ᏃᏊ ᎠᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎵᏙᎸ ᎠᎴ ᎢᎩᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ, ᎤᏠᏯᏍᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗ ᏗᏓᎵᏏᏅᏗ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎦᏬᏂᎯᏍᏗ ᎢᎦᎢ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎾᎿ NSU ᎠᎴ ᏧᎾᏍᏗ ᎠᏣᎳᎩᎭ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.

“ᏝᏃ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎦᏆ ᎤᏅᏌ ᏱᎩ. ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᏓᏂᎳᏍᏓᏢ ᎬᎾᏕᎾᏊ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏚᏙᏢᏒ ᎣᏠᏯ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏂᏙᎸ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Benge, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏚᏍᏆᏕ ᏏᏉᏲ ᏚᏕᎶᏆᎥᎢ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩᏍᏊ NSU ᏙᏛᏍᏆᏗ ᏓᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏍᎬᏘ ᎧᎴᏍᏗ ᎯᎢᏃ ᏚᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᏓᎦᏁᏏ ᎪᏪᎵ politicial science. ᎤᏛᏅᏃ ᎯᎠ ᎤᏛᏏᏗᏒ ᎠᎭᏂ ᏓᎵᏆ ᎠᏴᏫᏯ ᎨᏒ Ꮭ ᏳᏡᏗᏍᎨ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎤᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᎢᏳᏛᏗ, ᎤᏍᏕᎸᎲᏍᎨᏂ.

“Ꭴ.ᎪᏓ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᎠᎹᏱᎵ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏓᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎬ ᎦᎸᎳᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎤᏅᏂᏍᏔᏂᏙᎰ, ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏕᎦᏛᎯᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᎤᏂᎲ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ, ᎣᏥᎦᏔᎯ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎣᏤᎯᏯ ᎣᏥᏴᏫ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᏊ ᏦᏣᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ,” ᎠᏗᏍᎬᎢ. ᎤᏛᏅᏃ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎤᏕᎶᏆᎥ ᎠᎴ “ᎤᎪᏓ ᏬᏌᏂᏴ” ᎤᏫᏛᎲ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎠᏁᎯᏯ ᏗᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᎩ ᎤᏚᎵᏛ ᏧᏁᏲᏗ ᎣᏂ ᏥᏛᎾ ᏗᏂᏲᏟ ᎤᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗᎢ.

About the Author
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. 

For many years h ...
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will Chavez is a Cherokee/San Felipe Pueblo Indian who has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 25 years. During that time he has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a writer, reporter and photographer for the Cherokee Advocate and Cherokee Phoenix newspapers. For many years h ...

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