UI Weaves History and Culture Together for Native American Heritage Month

Tuesday, November 19 2013

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho will celebrate Native American Heritage Month with events Nov. 20 and 22.

The UI is an enthusiastic participant of Native American Heritage Month, which encourages Native American students to share cultural traditions and beliefs with the university community. It also helps strengthen the connection Native American students feel to their tribe during the semester, while honoring the generations before them.

“Recognition and honoring of the cultural foundation our ancestors have laid before us is very important,” said Sydel Samuels, Native American Student Center (NASC) director. “Having our elders, who are historians, linguists, skilled craftsman, and spiritual and cultural leaders of ceremonies and practices, here on UI campus is an honor. It allows us all to learn as well as honor the native students on campus who are the next generation leaders. ”

The UI will welcome Nez Perce historians and writers, Allen V. Pinkham and Steven Ross Evans, to campus for a book presentation and signing on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the Administration Auditorium.

Pinkham and Evans are the authors of “Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce: Strangers in the Land of the Nimiipuu.” The book represents a breakthrough in Lewis and Clark studies, looking broadly at the Lewis and Clark expedition through the Native American point of view. The book will be available for purchase at the event.

UI also will welcome master weaver Jenny Williams to campus as part of the celebration. She will conduct a weaving workshop at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22 at the Idaho Commons Clearwater Room with her granddaughter, Lydia Skahan. Weaving materials will be provided at the workshop for 40 people.

Williams was born and raised on the Nez Perce Reservation. She initially taught herself how to weave and began studying with master weavers from around the northwest. She has been featured at the Northwest Weaver’s Conference and in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Magazine.

Williams said it is of critical importance to pass on this tradition, since most cornhusk weavings are now only seen in museums.

Native American Heritage Month is sponsored by the University of Idaho’s Native American Student Center. Additional support comes from the University of Idaho American Indian Studies Program and the University of Idaho Tribal Liaison’s Office. All events are free and open to the public. To learn more, contact Sydel Samuels at (208) 885-4237.

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu.