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Students host Native American Appreciation Day

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 education and the Native American culture and traditions of the area’s indigenous populations.

The group will host the second annual Native American Appreciation Day from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 17 in the Campus Center. 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 last year’s event. Jason Parlin, a member of Native Voices, said the student group is hoping for a similar turnout this year.

“We want to create a deeper awareness of our Native American traditions and culture and this event is going to allow people on campus and in the community to come here and be exposed to both the University atmosphere and the area’s indigenous culture at the same time,” Parlin said. “We feel it’s important to represent ourselves and that this is the most appropriate and positive way to do so.”

The event was conceived last year 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. Parlin said Native Voices is carrying on the tradition.

The event will serve as a way for the University and the Native American community to collaborate and will include guest speakers who will discuss higher education and Native American culture, talking circles, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq craftspeople showcasing their work, refreshments, and traditional drumming and dancing. Because the event will be taking place from the afternoon until late in the evening, UMPI’s cafeteria will be open to attendees who would like to purchase a meal.

For more information about this event, contact Jason Parlin at 227-8424.