The 7th Annual Culture Days celebration on September 8, 9, and 10, 2010, was a great experience!
Over 112 people attended over the three days. All were interested and active participants. An analysis of attendees revealed that 16 traveled over 1,000 miles one way to attend. Over 60 percent of the attendees were not from the surrounding/immediate Wyandotte area. This had a positive economic impact on the area with many staying in local motels.
Wednesday night festivities included a time of introductions by each person, with each one telling why he/she was there and where he/she was from. Almost without exception, the attendees stated that they were there to “learn.” Dr. Pearson and Dr. Kopris gave a brief language lesson. A great meal was shared and the stage was set for an exciting two full days to come. A great journal book and pen was given to each attendee as a welcome gift and incentive for note taking!
On Thursday morning, the group met at the old Wyandotte public school gym. At that point attendees had the opportunity to purchase a set of resource books and a backpack for their personal libraries. Then language class began. Both Dr. Bruce Pearson and Dr. Craig Kopris did outstanding and complementary jobs teaching basic language skills. Everyone learned and practiced saying everyday phrases. Following the language class, Second Chief Billy Friend gave a “Know Your Nation” presentation that was excellent and informative. It was followed by questions and answers that met the needs of the attendees. After lunch at the Title VI building, the group reconvened in the gym for a history presentation by Chairman Lloyd Divine on “Stand and Be Counted a Wyandotte” in which he presented excellent demographic information about our nation that shed light on the various periods of our history. It was very well received by the attendees. Click here to download Lloyd’s notes from the lecture. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., participants worked on crafts (beading, moccasins) and had the opportunity to learn more about plants, foods and remedies. Over 20 participants made moccasins. A traditional dinner was served in Title VI. This was followed by stomp dance lessons lead by Monty Rains and guests from the Seneca Cayuga Nation.
On Friday morning, the group met again at the gym for language class. Again, the class presented by Dr. Pearson and Dr. Kopris was very well received. The heat and humidity was too severe for our guests – many of whom were from cooler climates – so we moved to the Bearskin Fitness Center for the subsequent presentations. Chief Bearskin addressed the attendees and inspired everyone to continue learning and being leaders in the communities. Chief Jan English presented a session on The Experience of Grief as it related to our Nations’ experience of loss through the relocation periods. The session was of particular significance to at least two attendees who had experienced recent deaths in their families (that we know of), and was interesting to other attendees as it related to history. Following lunch at Title VI, the group reconvened for afternoon presentations. By this time, all of the resource books and back packs were gone. Carol Savage from the Grove, OK, Public Library Genealogy Department instructed attendees on how to begin their genealogical research. Dana Butterfield gave a presentation on tribal citizenship and the rules that the Wyandotte Nation follows. Sallie Andrews gave a history presentation on the War of 1812. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., participants again worked on crafts (beading, moccasins) and had the opportunity to learn more about plants, foods and remedies. Evaluation sheets were distributed to all participants. (Lloyd, you could add a summary of the evaluations here.) About 5:30 p.m., the Culture Days sessions ended and everyone was free to go to dinner on their own and to attend the Pow Wow.
In summary, Culture Days offered something for everyone. The classes were well received and of interest. There was diversity of subjects and teaching styles. All of the resource materials were quickly sold. The food was excellent; the facilities were good (with the exception of the heat in the gym, which we were able to adjust for quickly), and everyone felt loved and welcomed, well cared for and appreciated.
We look forward to next year and continuing this great program which is unique in the Indian world! Thank you to our leaders for your personal support and for your budgetary commitment to our people and for enabling them to learn about their nation and to have even more pride in being Wyandottes!
It was GREAT!!! Start making plans today to join us next year on September 7, 8 & 9, 2011.
This year’s Culture Days had 112 attendees; and there may have been some who slipped in that we did not capture!
They were from the following states:
Oklahoma – 45
Kansas – 23
Missouri – 10
Indiana – 5
Texas – 5
Arkansas – 4
Washington – 3
Colorado – 2
Louisiana – 2
Ohio – 2
Arizona – 1
California – 1
Florida – 1
Idaho – 1
Maryland – 1
Michigan – 1
New Hampshire – 1
Did not give an address – 4
From this group 44 were from the immediate Wyandotte area (Wyandotte, Miami, Seneca, Joplin, Grove, Quapaw, etc.)
Sixteen people travelled over 1,000 miles one way to attend.
The Long family had five generations in attendance.
A mother and three daughters travelled from Washington and Idaho to attend.
A grandmother from Michigan met her granddaughter from Arizona for Culture Days.
A family from Kansas brought their relatives from Texas with them for Culture Days.
Two families met relatives for the first time (that we know of).