Opportunities to sample Native American foods, culture and traditions will be available to Ferris State University students, faculty and staff, as well as the Big Rapids community throughout the month of November.
Office of Multicultural Student Services Assistant Director Michael Wade said that his office works closely with the Circle of Tribal Nations, as sponsors, to plan the schedule of events each year.
“We seek to provide a variety of opportunities with the students of the registered student organization, in partnership,” Wade said. “They are definitely at the root of our activity.”
The “Ghost Supper,” a Native American feast meal to honor those who have passed on to the spirit world will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., in the West Campus Community Center. Bill and Nancy Fuchs, keeper of the White Wolf Drum will guide participants through the elements of this Great Lakes regional tradition.
Circle of Tribal Nations Native American Cultural Advisor Steven Naganashe Perry, of the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (Waganakising), and the Pine (Shingwauk) family of Garden River Ojibwe Reserve (Kitigan-zeeping) in Ontario, will lead workshops on birch bark crafting on Thursday, Nov. 12. Those who participate in Science Building, Laboratory 231, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., or 2:30 to 4 p.m., will have the opportunity to make rattles, or birch bark medallions.
Wade said they typically see their largest audience for the final event in the Native American Heritage Celebration, “A Native American Thanksgiving.” This featured presentation will be held in the University Center Rankin Lounge from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 23.
“We are glad to offer evening events to bring in participants from the campus and community,” Wade said. “We always get the biggest turnout, and it is probably because of the native foods offered there.”
Lee Sprague, a former tribal council member of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is the evening’s guest speaker, and will offer Thanksgiving teachings from a Native American perspective.
Wade said a mini-grant from Ferris’ Diversity and Inclusion Office has supported this year’s Native American Heritage Celebration event schedule.
More information on the celebration can be found on the Office of Multicultural Student Services web page.
PHOTO CAPTION: Office of Multicultural Student Services Assistant Director Michael Wade is pictured with Circle of Tribal Nations Native American Cultural Advisor Steven Naganashe Perry. (Photo courtesy of Circle of Tribal Nations Facebook page)