The Norman Public Library continues a tradition of celebrating the area’s Native American culture with its seventh Native American Festival, set for 1 to 5 p.m. April 15 at the library, 225 N. Webster Ave.
The festival is free and open to the public and will feature food, a Native Marketplace and activities throughout the building.
The festival has taken on a variety of themes in its seven-year run, with this year’s program centered on family and specifically the “seventh generation,” which looks at a tradition of planning forward to what may be left for seven generations down the road.
Oren Lyons, Chief of the Onondaga Nation, has said that “one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come … What about the seventh generation? Where are you taking them? What will they have?"
An additional, and perhaps more contemporary view, can be seen as seventh generation sustainability, which is an ecological concept that urges the current generation of humans to live sustainably and work for the benefit of the seventh generation into the future. It also originated with the Iroquois which strives to think seven generations ahead (a couple hundred years into the future) and decide whether the decisions they make today would benefit their children seven generations into the future.
“The library being a vital part of the Norman and surrounding communities, I felt it natural to incorporate the importance of family – past, present and future – with the importance and responsibility we have in taking care of our natural resources,” said Julie Moring, Native American Festival Chairperson. “The library has shown commitments in both these areas and this festival provides an excellent opportunity to showcase them.”
The festival will feature dancing from both local native youth, as well as a group of dancers from the Riverside Indian School. The students come from several different tribes and bring dancing styles reflective of their individual cultures.
Patrick Redbird, a Kiowa storyteller and another regular contributor to the festival over the years, will be the emcee for this year’s event.
Kricket Rhoads Connywerdy, a Kiowa and Caddo will return to the festival as well to tell several traditional Native American stories.
The festival also features plenty of food, with Norman First American United Methodist Church selling Indian tacos in Room A/B of the library.
A Native Marketplace will be set up in the main library with items for purchase, including art, beadwork, jewelry shawls and ornaments, and children can take part in a variety of themed crafts and activities in the library’s children’s department.
The Norman Public Library’s Native American Festival is sponsored by the Norman Arts Council, Pioneer Library System and the Friends of the Norman Public Library. Additional support has come from the Indian Education Department and staff of Norman Public Schools.
For more information, contact Festival Chairperson Julie Moring at 701-2676
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