George Warren Brown School of Social Work to host American Indian Awareness Week April 4-9

An American Indian powwow, traditional cuisine, storytelling, music and crafts will be among the highlights of the University’s American Indian Awareness Week April 4-9.

“Although the Kathryn M. Buder Center has been hosting American Indian Awareness Week for the last 14 years, this year is the most significant in our history, as it is a celebration honoring our 15 year anniversary,” says Dana Klar, interim director of the Kathryn M. Buder Center for American Indian Studies at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

Dancer at the 2004 Powwow
Dancer at the 2004 Powwow

Originally established to provide scholarships for American Indians, the Buder Center has grown into one of the most respected centers in the nation for the academic advancement and study of American Indian issues related to social work.

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

The movie The Business of Fancy-Dancing, written and directed by award winning author Sherman Alexie, will be featured from 7-9 p.m. on April 4 in Brown Lounge. Described as a poetic story of growth, death and the choices that define us, the movie follows two best friends as they reunite on the Spokane Reservation 16 years after high school graduation. A discussion will follow the show.

Amy L. Besaw will lead a discussion on “Honoring Nations: The Harvard Project” from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. on April 5 in Brown Lounge. Besaw is the associate director of the Honoring Nations program at the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development.

Winner in the best independent music category of the 2003 Native American Music Awards, Michael Jacobs will present his blend of traditional and contemporary music from 7-9 p.m. on April 6 in Graham Chapel. Jacobs’ songs, filled with powerful imagery, tell stories of life, love, hope and heartache.

On April 7, Buder Center students and staff will offer a sampling of American Indian/Alaskan Native foods from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Goldfarb Hall Student Commons. Grandma Coyote will entertain with traditional tales and Native American lore.

Carole Goldberg, professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, will speak about “The Campaign for Democracy Around the World: Lessons from Indian Country” at 2 p.m. April 8 in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom of Anheuser-Busch Hall.

American Indian Awareness Week will culminate April 9 with the 15th annual powwow, a festival of American Indian dancing, singing, drumming, arts, crafts and food.

This year’s anniversary powwow features an arts and craft show, an expanded drum circle, and a special stomp dance exhibit. A commemorative t-shirt featuring the artwork of a young native artist will be available for purchase during the event.

“It is our hope that the Washington University and St. Louis communities will come out and show their support and have a great time,” says Klar.

The powwow, from noon -10 p.m. in the Athletic Complex, attracts more than 1,500 people from 10 states. The Intertribal and Contest Dancing will begin at 1 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. Traditional arts and crafts booths will open at 10 a.m.

The 2005 American Indian Awareness Week and powwow are sponsored by the Buder Center, the School of Law, members of the St. Louis community and other University departments. For more information, call the Buder Center at 935-4510 or go online to