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Native Americans honored for their contributions in November

2018-11-12-Native-American-Mary-Brave-Bird
University of North Georgia Press is posting on its social media sites information about 29 Native Americans who have contributed to the written word as part of Native American Heritage Month. Mary Brave Bird (1954-2013) was a Lakota writer and activist who grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. She published two memoirs, "Lakota Woman" and "Okihita Woman."

Most U.S. citizens are familiar with the Native Americans such as Pocahontas, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Sacagawea, and Geronimo. But what about Elias Boudinot, editor of the first Native American newspaper; Andrew Jackson Blackbird, author of "History of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Michigan," or Lakota woman Mary Brave Bird, who is a writer and activist?

Thanks to the University of North Georgia (UNG) Press, the UNG community can learn about 29 American Indians in November, which has been deemed Native American Heritage Month.

"The UNG Press truly believes in diverse voices, so we wanted to do something that highlighted the valuable contribution Native Americans have provided to literature," said Jillian Murphy, assistant managing editor of UNG Press. "The book industry unfortunately often overlooks marginalized authors, and that includes Native Americans. So it's important to value Native American works."

As a way to mark the monthlong event, UNG Press is posting on its social media sites information about 29 Native Americans who have contributed to the written word. For example, UNG Press posted information about Boudinot on Nov. 2 on its Facebook page. Boudinot (1802-1839) was a Cherokee Indian from Georgia and the editor of the first Native American newspaper, "The Cherokee Phoenix."

Reading Boudinot and other Native Americans is not the only way UNG plans to honor the history and culture of American Indians. UNG students, faculty and staff may meet two Cherokee women the week after Thanksgiving.

2018-11-12-Sandy and WahlalahBrown

Sandy Brown and her daughter, Wahlalah, plan to share their Native American history and culture with younger generations Nov. 26 and Nov. 27 as part of National Native American Heritage Month at the University of North Georgia (UNG).

Sponsored by the Multicultural Student Affairs, Sandy and Wahlalah Brown will display a hunter's bark encampment and explain its significance as well as discuss their culture Nov. 26-27 at two UNG campuses. Known as "The Living History Cultural Educators," the mother and daughter will talk and answer questions from noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 26 on the promenade on the Dahlonega Campus and noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 27 on the Gainesville Campus.

"A lot of people don't interact with Native Americans or realize they are interacting with a Native people," Sandy Brown said. "We will have younger students ask if the Indian people are still alive. We want to get across that they are still here and live like everyone else, and they hang onto their ancient culture such as traditional ceremonies, songs and languages."

Brown said she is looking forward to returning to UNG this year after demonstrating finger weaving, cordage and twining in November 2017.

"With college students, you can get more in depth," she said. "The students who come to see us are pretty aware. They watch and learn and have great questions because they want to know the truth."

Dr. Billy Wells, a retired U.S. Army colonel and senior vice president of leadership and global engagement at UNG, said the truth about Native Americans is they have acted heroically in the nation's military actions.

"Twenty-one Native Americans have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor," Wells said. "Proportional to the American population, this is an exceptional number."

He said two live-fire ranges at Fort Benning and Fort Stewart in Georgia are named for U.S. Army Cpl. Mitchell Red Cloud Jr.  The World War II veteran served with the U.S. Marine Raiders on Guadalcanal and left the service as a sergeant. Red Cloud then enlisted in the Army, serving in Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment (The Rock of Chickamauga), 24th Infantry Division during the Korean War.

He was awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor in April 1951 for his action of stopping Chinese Communist forces from overrunning his company's position and gaining time for his fellow soldiers to reorganize and evacuate the wounded.

"Cpl. Red Cloud's dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflects the highest credit upon himself and upholds the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army," states the Medal of Honor citation.

Native American Heritage Month

What: Native American History Month speakers Sandy and Wahlalah Brown will speak about Native American history and culture

When: noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 26 on the promenade in Dahlonega; and noon to 2 p.m. Nov. 27 in Gainesville

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