When one hears the phrase “Native American,” most people simply think of moccasins, teepees, or cheesy jokes involving the word “how.”
However, there is more to this culture than these sterotypes.
November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Office of Multicultural Student Services has been putting on many events with this theme. The final event for November will be a Native American Dance and Storytelling event.
One person who has been heavily involved is Michael VanHorn, senior in business administration. VanHorn has been working with the OMSS to sponsor the events and led discussions after the presentations.
“If I’m not aware of something as far as my tribal history, I love learning it; I thrive on learning it,” VanHorn said. “I don’t look at this as an academic thing, it’s more fun for me.”
VanHorn is responsible for starting a new RSO at Ferris called the Circle of Tribal Nations. It should be an official RSO in January; they are just waiting for the paperwork to be processed.
According to VanHorn, the mission statement is as follows: “The Circle of Tribal Nations is an organization open to students, faculty and staff dedicated to expand public awareness and preservation of tribal cultures, past and present. The Circle integrates diversity among tribal members in a safe and welcoming environment, enhancing personal growth.”
A tribal nation is any group that exists within a nation, but lives according to its own laws, customs and cultures. There are examples of these all over the world, such as in Saudi Arabia, Africa, Hawaii and Native American tribes.
“Right now the organization is dedicated to the public awareness and preservation of tribal cultures,” VanHorn said, “so we’re trying to promote awareness of preservation of cultures throughout.”
VanHorn said he wanted to start the organization to learn more about his own traditional culture and other cultures.
“We should be able to learn and appreciate where we came from; that’s very important no matter who it is,” VanHorn said. “There’s pretty much one tribe and that’s the human tribe.”
All of the officers on the e-board are from different tribal nations, but everyone is invited to learn more about the different cultures represented at Ferris.
The Native Dance and Storytelling Event will be held in the Rankin Center Dome Room on Nov. 30 from 7 to 8 p.m. All are welcome to come and experience a lively and entertaining presentation about Native American Culture.