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NWC News Desk

Tipi-raising and smudging ceremony kicks off Native American Heritage Month at NWC

Posted October 26, 2017
By NWC News Desk

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month at Northwest College, the third annual Tipi-raising takes place Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 4 p.m. at the Intercultural House.

During this event, Johnny Tim Yellowtail, Marenda Bearshield and Chris Finley team up to raise the tipi.

Yellowtail is a member of the Crow Nation raised in the Apsáalooke ways. Bearshield is a full-blooded member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. Finley, adopted into the Crow Tribe, is an archaeologist and former cultural resource program manager for the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area.

Throughout the event, the three guests discuss the significance of tipis to Native Americans from a historical perspective and in today’s world.

The event wraps up with a traditional smudging ceremony where sage, cedar, sweet grass or bear root are bundled together and burned at one end. Smoke from the bundles is then fanned to create a cleansing bath of smoke.

Northwest’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month continues Thursday, Nov. 2, at 6:30 p.m. with discussion led by Logan Burns, assistant professor of English at Northwest.

Join Burns at the Powell Branch Library for a presentation about the book “Business of Fancydancing” by Sherman Alexie, American novelist, short story writer, poet and filmmaker.

Additionally, the monthly Stothart Readings take place Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 12 p.m. All are invited to college’s Hinckley Library and are welcome to share their original writing, favorite pieces or simply listen to others.

Each month, the library amphitheater is set up for NWC and community participants to read their original writing or offer interpretations of a favorite author. Those who enjoy listening more than sharing are equally welcome.

Following the Stothart Readings, the day wraps up with an evening presentation by Sweeney Windchief, Northwest College alum and assistant professor of adult and higher education at Montana State University.

Join Windchief at the Intercultural House Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m., as he discusses a new way of educating youth that is gaining momentum through the inclusion of teachers, parents and elders, centered in indigenous and experimental teaching near Standing Rock, North Dakota.

This event is sponsored by Powell Valley Community Education and the Office of Intercultural Programs.

As the month unfolds, stay tuned for additional presentations, receptions and more as a part of Native American Heritage Month. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information about these events, contact Amanda Enriquez, intercultural program manager, at or 307-754-6424.

The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Parks Service, Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in recognizing the rich traditions and ancestry of Native Americans during this month-long celebration.