Old Dominion University celebrated Native American Heritage month with highly respected performances by Eastern Sky Native American drummers, singers and dancers in the Newport News Room of Webb Center. The event was held on Nov. 4, 2013 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
The event was coordinated by ODU’s Office of Intercultural Relations and presented by several members of the Eastern Sky, such as Jimmy Thundercloud Ortiz of the Taíno tribe. There were also Fiona and Doug Begay of the Navajo reservation who shared their handmade Native American crafts at a vendor in the North Mall of Webb Center.
National American History month is celebrated for the 23 year this November and according to Jimmy Thundercloud Ortiz an “educational opportunity” for students to learn about Native American culture as well as a celebration where Native American affiliations come together to celebrate their heritage as one.
Several of the members of the Eastern Sky Group were dressed elaborately in items passed down to them or even their own hand crafted items. They were adorned in several different colors and as well as headdress and accessories.
There were several poetic recitations, including one of the poem written by Shonda Buchanan, a descendant of Coharie, Cherokee and Choctaw tribes. The poem “Harold’s Dream” regarded mixed blooded Native Americans and how many nations came together to create a family despite laws that tried to keep them apart.
One of the speakers said each performance was “a way to express what dancing means to them, and what it means to be Native American.”
One of many vendors shared how Native American cultures shares many aspects of African and aboriginal culture within their own because their culture has stemmed from one place: Africa.
Several times throughout the event the word “Hoo-wah” was exalted by the crowd which was an Ojibwe expression of excitement used to evoke emotion for the annual event. The audience and contenders were very enthusiastic about the celebration.
By: Kema Effiong