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Students host Native Appreciation Day

Friday, 13 April 2012

Students from the University of Maine at Presque Isle's Native Voices group will host a day-long event meant to develop strong connections between higher education and the Native American/First Nations indigenous populations by setting aside a day on campus that focuses on their culture and traditions.

The group will host the Fifth Annual Native Appreciation Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, in Wieden Hall. All interested students, faculty, staff, and members of the general public are welcome to attend and participate in this free event, which is being supported by Project Compass.

About 150 people attended the first year's event, and about 400 attended the event in 2010. Native Voices is hoping to see the event continue to grow this year. Organizers are pleased to again host a competition Pow Wow during the day's activities.

Native Appreciation Day was conceived in late 2007 by David Perley, a councilor with the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, and a lecturer for the University of Maine, the University of New Brunswick, and St. Thomas University. Native Voices since has carried on the tradition. The event serves as a way for the University and the Native communities to meet, mingle and learn.

An afternoon and evening of traditional dancing competitions begins at Noon with a Grand Entry and Opening Ceremonies. Registration for the dancing begins at 9:30 a.m. Competition dancing in all categories and ages will be held from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Dance categories include: Senior Women, Senior Men, Junior Girls, Junior Boys, Teen Girls, Teen Boys, Women and Men. All of these categories will have separate Traditional and Fancy/Jingle competitions. There also will be a Tiny Tots category for the youngest participants. Prize money will be awarded to first, second and third place winners.

Vendor tables will be set up in Wieden during the Pow Wow competition. Also during the day, there will be presentations on Native issues from 12:30-4:30 p.m. The event caps off with an Awards Ceremony from 5 to 6 p.m.

A meal, sponsored by Project Compass and Native Voices, will be provided during the event.

All are invited to attend this free event and this unique opportunity to see traditional Native dancing. The vendor fee is $15 a table and the dancing registration fee is $10. For more information about this event or Native Voices, contact Myrth Schwartz at 768-9792.