44th Time Out Week focuses on gender issues

Week-long Native American culture celebration includes guest speakers, powwow


The Native Pride Dancers pose during 2010’s Time Out Week. Photo courtesy of the Grand Forks Herald.

A series of educational events called Time Out Week celebrating Native Americans and their culture kicked off earlier this week. It is hosted by the Indian Studies Association.

The annual celebration involving conversations of the past, present and future of Native Americans in North Dakota was focused on gender and sexuality in native America.

“This week encourages students to take the time out to learn about the Native American culture,” Vice President of the Indian Studies Association Jayde Serich said.

Time Out began on Monday morning with an opening ceremony and included a presentation by Serich, a presentation on domestic violence against women by Michelle Rivard-Parks, an appointed member of the North Dakota Supreme Court State and Tribal Court Committee, a family science night, and a viewing of the movie, “Young Lakota.”

Serich said it was nice to share the project she did for a class on gender roles of Ojibwe women.

“I learned a lot through my presentation, and I would like to do it again,” Serich said.

On Tuesday, presentations continued from other UND students and community members, and the Tone Def Sirens, a female rock duo group from South Dakota, was scheduled to perform at the Loading Dock.

On Wednesday, keynote speaker Cecilia Fire Thunder, who is the first female president of the Oglala Sioux tribe, spoke on her experience with Lakota cultural traditions and women’s health policies. Fire Thunder also spoke at the banquet held later that night.

“(Fire Thunder) has been very active in advocating for women’s rights, and I am eager to hear her speak,” adviser to the Indian Studies Association Alan Shackelford said.

On Thursday, the events continued with presentations including Melvin Monette’s on what it is like to be a gay Native American. Powwow dance lessons also were offered.

Today, Minnesota state representative Susan Allan will speak about social and economic justice through state government. Allan is the first Native American to serve in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

Glenn and Gary Drapeau will discuss empowering nations through Dakota tradition.

“I encourage everyone to come,” Serich said. “We open it up to anyone who is curious to learn about Native American culture. It is not just a week for Native American students, but it is for everyone interested in learning.”

After wrapping up Time Out Week, Wacipi — the Dakota word for powwow or party — begins today. Wacipi is coordinated through the University of North Dakota Indian Association, which is a student organization of American Indians and includes a dance competition and a basketball tournament.

“One thing that I find especially moving is how our UNDIA students emerge as community leaders and the pride they feel in seeing a year’s worth of extremely hard work and planning come to fruition,” UND Director of American Indian Student Services and adviser to UNDIA Leigh Jeanotte said.

The powwow includes a dance competition and basketball tournament. It will be held at the Hyslop Sports Center with grand entry beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday night. It costs $12 for the entire weekend or $7 per day for adults, and is free for children younger than 5, adults over 60 and UND students. A traditional meal will be served at 5 p.m. Saturday and is free to the public.

Jeanotte said he expects between 3,000 to 4,000 people to attend Wacipi.

“The annual UNDIA Time Out Wacipi is truly a community-wide celebration in every aspect, a celebration of our campus, community, cultural contributions and diversity, and certainly student persistence, contributions, accomplishments and leadership,” Jeanotte said. “This truly beautiful celebration of community featuring the tribal cultures and diversity, truly sets UND apart from any other institution of higher learning.”

Ashley Marquis is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]