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FNSA Powwow and Indigenous Festival events to celebrate Indigenous cultures

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The annual First Nations Student Association (FNSA) Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival will offer a full schedule of activities to celebrate the diversity of Native American cultures in the Lawrence community, according to a University of Kansas news release.

The event will “welcome the KU, Lawrence and surrounding communities to participate, share experiences, make connections and learn more about the traditions, culture, history and contemporary topics relating to the Indigenous peoples of North America,” according to the release. 

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The festival, which is free and open to the public, is set for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9 at the Lied Center, and it will include singing, dancing, and honoring Indigenous traditions.

T-shirts and Indigenous-inspired food will be available, and regional Native American artists and artisans will also have items for sale. Organizers recommend bringing cash.

This is the first powwow since 2019 – 2020’s was canceled, and 2021’s was virtual

Laura Kingston / Contributed Photo This contributed photo is from the April 6, 2019 KU Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival. The event was canceled in 2020 and held virtually in 2021, but it will return to the Lied Center on April 9, 2022.

Beginning at 9 a.m., FNSA members will raise the FNSA tipi on the lawn of the Lied Center. At the conclusion of the powwow at 7 p.m., the members will take it down.

The full schedule of festival activities and events can be found at this link. A few highlights accompanying the powwow include:

11 a.m. 

  • Local Indigenous consultant and historian Jancita Warrington (Menominee, Prairie Band Potawatomi and Ho-Chunk) will provide an overview of powwows. She will describe songs, dance styles and more.

1 p.m. 

  • Dr. Alex Red Corn (Osage Nation of Oklahoma) will “introduce Indian education and explain the need to engage in the complexity of Indigenous relationships with education.”
  • Kansas State Rep. Christina Haswood (Diné) will read “Sofia Valdez, Future Prez” by Andrew Beaty.

3 p.m.

  • Dr. Theresa Milk, a Lakota mother and grandmother, and author of “Haskell Institute: 19th Century Stories of Sacrifice and Survival,” will give a special presentation: Perris Indian School & Southern California, 1894: A Savage Investigation Eclipsed By a Savage Murder.

3:30 p.m.

  • Congresswoman Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin) will read her book “Sharice’s Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman.” The book has appeared numerous times on the Raven Book Store’s bestseller lists.

4:30 p.m.

  • Participants will have the opportunity to “join FNSA and learn more about the diverse identities of our Indigenous community.”

The festival is not the only upcoming event celebrating Indigenous cultures. There are also several events leading up to the festival in late March and early April, including an Indigenous arts initiative exhibit, a land acknowledgement discussion on Zoom, and a contemporary dance performance “inspired by Indigenous sky and star stories.”

For full, up-to-date details about the festival, visit the event website or Facebook event page

Laura Kingston / Contributed Photo This contributed photo is from the 2019 KU Powwow and Indigenous Cultures Festival. The event was canceled in 2020 and held virtually in 2021, but it will return to the Lied Center on April 9, 2022.
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Emma Bascom (she/her), reporter, can be reached at ebascom (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here.

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