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Native American celebration kicks off

November 10, 2011

By Ashley Ammond

Native dancers dressed in colorful costumes danced to the sound of drums in the Student Center atrium on Nov. 1. The dance performances launched the Native American Heritage Month celebration.

Marlys Rambeau, a Native community member, brought members of her family to perform and teach a two-step dance, along with round dances for Cleveland State students.
The Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (ODAMA) and the Native American Student

Organization (NASO) plans to continue the celebration within the next few weeks.
One event will feature Grammy award winner Bill Miller from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 in the Main Classroom auditorium.

“Typically, when people think of Native Americans, they focus on the past, like Thanksgiving. We wanted to highlight the fact that not only do Natives exist, they exist in Cleveland,” said Marie Stolkowski, President of NASO.

ODAMA also hosted a movie, “Walking Into the Unknown” which followed the journey of Ojibwe physician Dr. Arne Vainio as he went to all the check-ups most Native American men avoid.

“With such a large population of American Indians in Cleveland, the information in this film would serve vital to helping this population in healthcare fields,” Stolkowski said. “I was hoping more students and professors from the pre-med Health Sciences classes would have attended, but the CSU library has the film, so they can check it out there.”

ODAMA and NASO will be hosting two more events this month —the Miller concert and a lecture and lunch about health disparities among Natives peoples from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 17 in the Student Center Ballroom.

“I think Native American Heritage Month is when NASO can really come alive. It’s a time where we can spread awareness of the month and Native Americans in Cleveland in general, and be proud of our history and make strides to improve our future,” Stolkowski said.

Native American student, Mariah Devore, believes the month-long celebration is important to express the tradtions of the culture.

“I think it’s crucial to continue the traditions of our past genrations to keep the Native American culture alive. It is also very important to introduce the culture to those around us who have no experience or knowledge of the culture,” Devore said. (part Lenni Lenape and Deleware Tribe).

Kristy Lawrence, another Native American student, believes the celebration to be important because the representation of Native American groups is lacking.

“I believe the most important reason to celebrate the month is because we are far and few in between, as we do not really have a lot of representation in our community, so this month gives people an idea of what Native American’s are all about,” Lawrence said. (White River Cherokee).

All events this month are free and open to the public. They all take place on campus.
For more information and a complete listing of events, contact the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at 216-687-9394.