Social work school co-sponsors American Indian Awareness Week, powwow

An American Indian powwow, traditional cuisine, crafts, a film and presentations by Kerry Bird and Rebecca Tsosie are among the highlights of Washington University’s American Indian Awareness Week March 17-22.

This year’s theme is “Carrying on the Wisdom of Our Ancestors.”

Bird is a senior consultant and human resources manager for ProGroup Inc. Tsosie is the Lincoln Professor of Native American Law and Ethics and executive director of the Indian Legal Program at Arizona State University.

The annual powwow and awareness week allow Washington University’s American Indian students to share their unique cultures with the rest of the campus and the St. Louis community. The events are free and open to the public.

The Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, the School of Law and the American Indian Student Association are co-sponsoring the festival. First-year GWB students Pamela Begay and Monique Giago are chairing the events.

On March 17, Buder Center students and staff will sponsor a sampling of traditional and contemporary American Indian foods — such as fry bread, wild rice and corn soup — from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Goldfarb Hall Student Commons.

Bird, a GWB alumna tribally affiliated with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Lumbee, will present the Alumni Lecture from noon-1 p.m. March 18 in Brown Lounge in Brown Hall. A former president of the National Indian Education Association, Bird will address the importance of education in carrying on the wisdom of American Indian ancestors.

The Fast Runner will be the featured film from 6-9 p.m. March 19 in Goldfarb Hall, Room 359. This fictional movie follows the family life and struggles of an Inuit Clan in Northern Canada. A discussion will follow.

Tsosie, a member of the Yaqui Tribe, will speak on and discuss cultural heritage law from noon -1p.m. March 20 in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall. A small lunch will be provided.

On March 21, the Buder Center will hold a seminar on creating American Indian arts and crafts. Visitors will learn how to make items such as beaded earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

American Indian Awareness Week culminates March 22 with the 13th annual powwow, a festival of American Indian dancing, singing, drumming, arts, crafts and food.

The powwow attracts more than 1,500 people from 10 states and will run from noon-10 p.m. in the Athletic Complex. The Intertribal and Contest Dancing will begin at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

For more information, call the Buder Center at 935-4510 or visit and click on the “Centers & Projects” link.