Sharing the Spirit series will celebrate Native American heritage

Cameron University and the Lawton Arts and Humanities Council (LAHC) are pleased to present Sharing The Spirit 2013-2014, a series of events celebrating Native American heritage in Southwest Oklahoma. The series is made possible by the City of Lawton, Oklahoma Arts Council, and National Endowment for the Arts.

“Cameron University is pleased to partner with the Lawton Arts & Humanities Council to present Sharing the Spirit,” says Dr. Von Underwood, Dean of Cameron’s School of Liberal Arts and a member of LAHC’s programming committee. “With each of these events, we hope to open new pathways for exploring the Native American heritage that is so rich and important throughout Southwest Oklahoma.”

Sharing the Spirit kicks off on Sunday, November 3, with a reception and exhibition of Cameron University’s John C. Paynter Collection of Native American Art from 2-5 p.m. The late John C. Paynter donated his collection of Native American art to the Cameron University Foundation, and this event will mark the first time the collection will be displayed in its entirety. More than 75 works by 16 artists will be exhibited. Artists include Ed Hoosier, Brian Narcomey, Chad Payne, Harvey Pratt, Robert Redbird, Robert Redbird Jr., Leonard Riddles (Black Moon), Tim Saupitty, Spottedbird, Grover Topaum, Wahkinney and Yellowhair. The event takes place in the McCasland Ballroom of the McMahon Centennial Complex on the Cameron campus and will be opened with Native American flute playing by Myron Beeson. Information about the other events in the project and sign-up sheets for the workshops will also be available.

On Tuesday, November 5, anthropologist and lover of native plants Dr. Fred Schneider will present an illustrated talk on “Native American Plant Use” at 7 p.m. in the Cameron University Library. Schneider maintains a native plant garden, which contains 52 species of plants utilized by Native American tribes for food, medicine, ritual, personal care, dye and horse fodder, at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds. His presentation will emphasize plants used by tribes of western Oklahoma including the Apache, Comanche, Cheyenne, and Kiowa. 

The series continues on Saturday, November 16 with “The Beat of Tribal Drums and the Dance of the Comanche People,” a Native American dance workshop featuring Eleanor McDaniel, Comanche artist and instructor in traditional Native American arts and crafts. Following a presentation on the Native American Church, McDaniel will lead participants in an overview of the Gourd Dance and general powwow etiquette. Participants will have the opportunity to take part in a Gourd Dance as well as social/intertribal dancing.

Gordon Tahquechi will provide drum accompaniment. For the dance demonstrations, Carlene Collins will serve as Lead Head Dancer and Jared Wahkinney will serve as Head Man Dancer. Collins and Wahkinney will be attired in two sets of completely handmade apparel and accessories showcasing bead and feather work.

The workshop is appropriate for ages 12 years and up. Registration fees are $10 for adults and $5.00 for students to cover cost of supplies. Students must present their ID for special rate. To register, call 581-3470/3471.

Sharing the Spirit will resume from April 4-5, 2014 with a two-day creative expression workshop led by Jimmy Arterberry, Comanche scholar, historian and artist and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Comanche Nation. The workshop will provide an opportunity to learn about Oklahoma history and culture via two sites on the National Register of Historic Places located at Fort Sill – Medicine Bluffs and Adams Hill Tar Pits. Following a field trip to those locations, participants will have the opportunity to create an interpretive piece in a medium of choice – drawing, painting, poetry, song, short story, film, beading or leatherwork – in a studio setting. 

On Friday, April 4, Part I will cover the Historic Site Visit, Field Notes and Journaling from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Participants will have an opportunity to examine the sites from their own creative perspective such as taking notes, photographing and journaling, and then translate that vision into a creative media. On Saturday, April 5, Part II will cover Creative Expressions in Studio from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Studio time will be held at Old Town Hall/Carnegie Library in downtown Lawton.  Each participant will create a response to their onsite experience using various media and limited art supplies available are acrylic paint, watercolor, tempera, color pencils & markers.  Participants are also welcome to bring their own media and supplies such as beads, leather, basket weaving materials, etc.

Previous experience with creative/artistic media is helpful but not required, and the workshop is open to all who want a better understanding of these important historic sites. This workshop is limited to 15 participants at a cost of $35 per person. Pre-registration is required; to register, call 581-3470.

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October 15, 2013

PR# 13-163