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Tracing activism, celebrating culture

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Packed schedule for USCL’s Native American Studies Week

By University of South Carolina at Lancaster

Native Americans’ pursuit of political, economic and civil rights will be the main focus as USC Lancaster’s Native American Studies Center hosts its 13th annual Native American Studies Week next week.
All activities March 16-21 are free and open to the public. They will include a film screening, art exhibit openings and lectures discussing grassroots activism in American Indian communities, activism of native women in various roles, and presidential policies toward indigenous people, said event coordinator Dr. Brooke Bauer.
 “Activism, from my perspective as a historian, has been taking place since Hernando de Soto traveled through the South. It’s just that we don’t think about it in that same way,” said Bauer, professor of history and Native American studies at USC Lancaster.
“They’re actively standing up for themselves. This is activism. It’s just not the 20th century type of movement.”
Seven events will be held during the week, with four events occurring at the Native American Studies Center on Main Street in downtown Lancaster.
• March 16, 1 p.m. – “Red Power: Grassroots Activism and American Indian Communities,” a Lunch and Learn talk. Robert Greeson, chair of the American Indian Party, presents a lecture examining the complex role grassroots activism plays in issues impacting American Indian communities.   
• March 17, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. – Native American Arts and Crafts Festival. Shop for jewelry, Catawba pottery, Cherokee and Catawba baskets, quilts and more one-of-a-kind artwork.
• March 21, 11:15 a.m. – “Vehidi Dugwetame: Return of the Pee Dee,” exhibit reception. See traditional, historic items and contemporary art forms in this exhibit curated by the Pee Dee Tribe.
• March 21, 1:30 p.m. - “Tradition, Family & Pop Culture: The Artwork of Jessica Clark and Tom Farris,” exhibit opening. This exhibit displays the contemporary work of Lumbee artist Jessica Clark and Otoe-Missouria-Cherokee artist Tom Farris. Farris will present a gallery talk that afternoon at 1:30 p.m. Clark will demonstrate her work throughout the day at the Arts and Crafts Festival on March 17.
Three more events will take place at USC Lancaster’s Bundy Auditorium:
• March 19, 6 p.m. – “The Cherokee Word for Water,” film screening. Based on a true story, the film tells the story of Wilma Mankiller and her fight for clean water in rural 1980s Oklahoma, prior to becoming the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.
• March 20, 2-4 p.m. – “Activism of Native Women,” symposium. Dr. Elizabeth Ellis of New York University, Dr. Courtney Lewis of the University of South Carolina, Ph.D. candidate Jami Powell of Tufts University and Marvel Welch of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs will discuss their respective roles in Standing Rock, in the Eastern Band of Cherokee’s small business ownership, in contemporary Osage art, and in the Indian Child Welfare Act in North Carolina.
• March 20, 5:30 p.m. – “Remembering the Past, Healing the Present, and Creating the Future.” Speaker DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren discusses presidential policies toward indigenous people from a Native American perspective. The event begins at 5:30 p.m., though refreshments will be served at 5 p.m.
For details, call (803) 313-7172 or visit www.usclancaster.sc.edu.