Native American Heritage Festival Set for Nov. 1 at RSU

A powwow singing workshop, a stomp dance, Cherokee storytelling, arts and craft workshops will be featured during the 16th Annual Native American Heritage Festival on Saturday, Nov. 1, at Rogers State University.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, will be held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the Centennial Center on the RSU campus in Claremore, 1701 W. Will Rogers Blvd.

The RSU Native American Heritage Festival is co-sponsored by the RSU Native American Student Association, RSU Department of Fine Arts along with support from the Oklahoma Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.

“We are honored to organize and host this festival, which increases the exposure of Native American heritage within our community,” said Dr. Hugh Foley, RSU fine arts professor and festival organizer. “Attendees can experience making authentic American Indian crafts, hear traditional storytelling and even witness a ‘stomp dance,’ or the traditional music of Native American people who came from the Southeast.”

Free arts and crafts classes will be offered for adults and children from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants can learn how to make corn husk dolls, baskets, beaded necklaces and dream catchers in a “make it and take it” format. A flat reed basket presentation by Cherokee artisan Betty Frogg also will be featured. 

Indian tacos from the RSU Native American Student Association will be sold for $5 from noon to 5 p.m.

Feather Smith-Trevino will present Cherokee storytelling at 1 p.m.

Jack Anquoe, Jr., of Kiowa and Cherokee descent, will lead a powwow singing and social dance at 2 p.m.  to allow participants and members of the public to sing around the drum, learn powwow protocol, and practice some basic dance steps. 

Marvin Diamond, of Otoe-Missouri descent, will provide a presentation about instruments and spirituality of the Native American church at 3 p.m.

There will be presentations about the Quapaw language from Ardina Moore at 4 p.m. and on Osage history from Anna Jefferson at 5 p.m.

The event will provide a supper break from 6-7 p.m., during which time videos will be shown, including “Public/Social ‘Stomp Dance’ Videos from Oklahoma: 1998-2013.”

The evening will conclude with a traditional social stomp dance from 7 to 10 p.m. The stomp dance will be hosted by the Tallahassee (Wvkokye). Mekko David Proctor Muscogee (Creek) will lead the dance and Sam Proctor Muscogee (Creek) will serve as the advisor. All leaders, shell-shakers and the public are welcome to participate.

The festival is funded by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council. Through state appropriations and grants from the National Endowment for Arts, the Oklahoma Arts Council funds more than 1,200 events annually with an estimated total attendance of more than 3.5 million. Projects funded by the Oklahoma Arts Council generally account for more than $20 million in grants and matching funds distributed throughout Oklahoma’s economy throughout the state’s rural and urban communities.

All events will be held in the RSU Centennial Center. A campus map can be found at www.rsu.edu/campusmap.

In addition to the heritage festival, on Thursday, Oct. 30, Foley will be hosting a showing of the documentary, “This May Be the Last Time,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year.  The documentary details the disappearance of director Sterlin Harjo’s grandfather in the 1960s and also details the unique American music history of Muscogee (Creek) hymns. Foley is featured in the film.

The event will kick off at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 30, in the Will Rogers Auditorium. Muscogee (Creek) hymn singers will perform a few songs prior to the screening, and Harjo will be on hand to comment about the film before the screening and then answer audience questions after the film.

The film presentation is free and open to the public.  

For more information on the festival or film screening, call 918-343-7566 or email [email protected]