A Taste of Native American Culture

RSU festival on November 12 provides authentic Native American experiences.

By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Recreation/Leisure | Issue: November 2011

Festival attendees will have an opportunity to see, make, and participate in authentic American Indian activities.

Festival attendees will have an opportunity to see, make, and participate in authentic American Indian activities.

Authentic Native American arts and crafts, storytelling, food, singing and stomp dancing are returning to the Rogers State University campus in Claremore on Saturday, November 12. Activities will kick off at 10 a.m. at the Centennial Center Ballroom and Veranda as part of the 13th annual Native American Heritage Festival.

“We want to provide a ­cultural experience for our ­students and the community to celebrate our rich Native American heritage,” says Dr. Hugh Foley, RSU fine arts professor and festival ­coordinator. “The festival will feature a wide variety of ­educational and entertaining events for the whole family.”

From 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., children and adults are invited to participate in a variety of free make-and-take Cherokee arts and crafts. Participants can learn how to make a cornhusk doll, weave a basket, string clay beads to make a necklace or bracelet, or create a dream catcher using grapevine.

Event participants can then spend the next hour listening to Cherokee tales as told by traditional storyteller Robert Lewis, beginning at 1 p.m. A pow wow singing workshop will follow at 2 p.m. with Joe Don Waters, of Kiowa and Ponca descent.

Jack Anquoe, Jr. leads the pow wow singing workshop in a previous RSU Native American Heritage Festival.

Jack Anquoe, Jr. leads the pow wow singing workshop in a previous RSU Native American Heritage Festival.

An American Indian flute presentation will begin promptly at 3 p.m., followed by a free meal of Indian tacos from 5 to 7 p.m. The tacos, prepared and served by the RSU Native American Student Association, will also be sold throughout the day for those who can’t wait for the free treat.

“RSU’s Native American Heritage Festival is unique because we have authentic ­people participating in this event instead of scholars,” says Dr. Foley. “Our overall focus in our Native American studies is to provide authentic experiences.”

Free and open to the public, the festival will culminate in the demonstration and exhibition of a traditional stomp dance from 7 to 10 p.m., hosted by the Tallahassee (Wvkokye) Ceremonial Grounds of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Roman Hill (Muscogee) will serve as the emcee. “All shell shakers, leaders and the public are welcome to participate in the traditional dance and songs of the Muscogee (Creek) people,” Dr. Foley adds.

“One of the unique things we do at our festival is hosting the stomp dance demonstration,” says Dr. Foley. “It is important for people to know there is more to their heritage. A stomp dance happens around the fire and a pow wow happens around the drum. While pow wows began in the west with the Plains Indians, the stomp dance originated with the Muscogee and Cherokee tribes, who were part of the removal to Oklahoma.”

Underwritten by a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and RSU, the event draws hundreds to the campus each year to ­participate in the free and ­educational activities. “School groups, Girl Scouts, RSU ­students, the Indian Education Association, the Cherokee Nation and students in the Upward Bound program have all been past participants.”

“This event provides the community and the campus an opportunity to have an authentic American Indian experience,” says Dr. Foley. “By making art, listening to cultural presentations, eating traditional food and participating in a dance, a person can gain a little more sensitivity to the Native American experience.”

The RSU Native American Heritage Festival is co-sponsored by the RSU Native American Student Association and the RSU Department of Fine Arts. The campus is located at 1701 W. Will Rogers Blvd.



For more information, contact

Rogers State University


1701 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
Claremore, OK 74017
(918) 343-7566

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About Author Carol Beck-Round

After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.

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