MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Voices of Indigenous Peoples, a Middlebury College student organization, will celebrate November’s Native American Heritage Month with a series of events from Nov. 4-14. Activities will include a lecture by activist, author and former vice presidential candidate Winona LaDuke on Tuesday, Nov. 14, as well as a dance performance and the construction of a teepee. All events are free and open to the public.

The first of the November activities will take place when Sterling Hollow Horn, a member of the Lakota Sioux tribe, explains the cultural and spiritual significance of the teepee and sweat lodge, both of which will be constructed as part of the event, on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 4-6 p.m. behind Battell Hall off College Street (Route 125).

On Thursday, Nov. 9, at 8:30 p.m. in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, there will be a screening of “The Business of Fancydancing.” In this 2002 movie, Seymour Polatkin, a successful, gay Native American poet from Spokane, Wash., confronts his past when he returns to his childhood home on the reservation to attend the funeral of a dear friend. Based on Sherman Alexie’s book of stories and poems by the same name, “The Business of Fancydancing” is a poetic story of growth, death and the choices that define us.

Richard Meyers, a member of the Lakota Sioux tribe and a visiting instructor in the Middlebury College Anthropology Department, will give a talk, “Two Steppin’ With Moccasins On: To Be a Native Scholar, Or a Scholar That Is Native,” on Friday, Nov. 10, from 4:30-6 p.m. in Carr Hall on College Street (Route 125).

The activities will continue on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 3-5 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Dance Theater when a group from the Shinnecock Algonquin tribe will hold a cultural workshop and perform social dances. The demonstration will include traditional Eastern Women’s Blanket Dancers, Eastern War Dancers, as well as a contemporary Teen Boy’s Fancy Dancer.  Storytelling and Native American poetry will also be part of the performance. The audience is welcome to participate in social dances, which will include a welcoming Round Dance, a Rabbit or Couple’s Dance, and a Stomp Dance.
On Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in Sunderland Language Center in Dana Auditorium, LaDuke will give a talk titled “Environmental Justice from a Native Perspective.” LaDuke, a member of the Mississippi Band of Anishinaabeg or Ojibwe, is the program director of Honor the Earth, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that supports Native American environmental issues and the development of sustainable Native American communities. She is also the founding director of White Earth Land Recovery Project, and has worked for two decades on the land issues of the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, including litigation over land rights.

LaDuke is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Reebok Human Rights Award and the Ms. Woman of the Year Award. In 1994, she was nominated by Time magazine as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders less than 40 years of age.

In both 1996 and 2000, LaDuke ran for vice president on the Green Party ticket with Ralph Nader. A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, she has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. Her books include “Last Standing Woman,” “All Our Relations,” “In the Sugarbush” and “The Winona LaDuke Reader.” Her most recent book, “Recovering the Sacred,” was released by South End Press in 2005.

The events are sponsored by several Middlebury College organizations: Voices of Indigenous Peoples, Office of Institutional Diversity, Academic Enrichment Fund, Office of Environmental Affairs, Environmental Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies, Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, Wonnacott Commons, and Environmental Quality.

For more information, contact Voices of Indigenous Peoples President Kelly Dennis at kdennis@middlebury.edu or 802-443-6318.