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Cultural group visits D.C.
By Scott Davis, UTTC Strengthening Lifestyles Program
13 November 2007

WASHINGTON, DC - A delegation from United Tribes Technical College visited Washington, D.C. November 6 7 as part of the observance of "National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month."

      On the trip were students Mia Spoonhunter (Northern Arapahoe) Ethete, WY, a student in Community Health, and Glen Fox (Three Affiliated) Bismarck, ND, Small Business Management. Eric Sheppard (Sisseton-Wahpeton) also accompanied the group, along with UTTC Culture Committee members Scott and Lorraine Davis.

Congressman Earl Pomeroy and UTTC group
Pausing to pose, from left, Kurt Luger, Dale Brown, Glen Fox, Congressman Earl Pomeroy, and Mia Spoonhunter, during a visit to Washington, D. C. UTN photo Scott Davis.

      The visit was arranged and sponsored by the National Indian Gaming Association, National Congress of American Indians, National Indian Health Board and American Indian Housing Council.

      North Dakota/Great Plains Indian Gaming Association Director Kurt Luger extended the invitation to have UTTC participate in this first time event.

      Participating as UTTC Thunderbird Dance Group, the two students, Sheppard and Lorraine Davis performed November 6 on the circular wood floor in the atrium of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian and November 7 at the Rayburn House Office Building.

      Master of ceremonies for both events was Ernie Stevens Jr., NIGA Executive Director. Inspirational talks were provided by North Dakota native Dale Brown, former head basketball coach and Louisiana State University.

      Along with the UTTC dance group, the Samala Singers of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Yaaw Tei Ti Tlingit dancers from Juneau Alaska and the Chowctaw Nations Dancers from Oklahoma also performed.

      The UTTC students met with North Dakota Congressman Earl Pomeroy, whose hospitality and personable qualities were appreciated by the group.

      NIGA also led the group on a tour of DC, visiting some of its many venues. The highlight was the veteran memorials that are dedicated to past and present warriors.

      Overall it was a great experience for both the students and chaperones, not only to perform for congressional representatives but to showcase tribal culture. As Ernie Stevens said when introducing the group: "These people are Indian Country."

      The UTTC Culture Committee would like to thank all of those people involved in helping to showcase the student's talents and skills. There were many positive and flattering comments from the audience during both performances. UTTC and the tribes can be proud of the way they were represented in the nation's capitol.


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