There's a beautiful photograph in the president's office at IUP, taken by retired Communications Media professor Richard Lamberski.
The photo, titled "We Have Survived," is of a dance at the 2009 Tipton Powwow.
On November 12, it will be formally presented to IUP by Clifton Pembleton, chair of the IUP Native American Awareness Council, as a "cultural trust to the president of IUP with grateful appreciation from the IUP Native American Awareness Council."
The presentation begins the fifth annual celebration of American Indian Heritage Month on campus, scheduled from noon to 5:00 p.m. in the Hadley Union Building Delaware Room. It's free and open to the community and will feature a variety of performers, including Mathew White Eagle Clair, Bill Crouse, Drums of Native Sisters and Michael Jacobs.
Anyone who has had a longtime affiliation with IUP knows Clifton Pembleton and his wife, Sandy, who both recently retired from IUP, and how active they have been with the council and the work of creating more awareness about Native American culture.
Clif and Sandy are joined by several IUP faculty members on the Native American Awareness Council: Sarah Neusius, Anthropology, vice chair; Holly Boda-Sutton, Theater and Dance; James Dougherty and Melanie Hildebrandt, Sociology; Robert Millward and Monte Tidwell, Professional Studies in Education; Theresa Smith, Religious Studies; student Germaine McArdle (Oglala, Lakota Sioux); and Jennifer Soliday, Dan Mock, and Kinorea Tigris (Cherokee, Creek, Oglala, Lakota and Sioux).
IUP's celebration of Native American Awareness Month came after Ms. Soliday, then an undergraduate, wrote to the IUP president, "I feel that it would be in the university's best interest to demonstrate IUP's sensitivity to American Indian culture and formally recognize this November, and every November, as American Indian Heritage Month."
The president agreed, as did the IUP Council of Trustees. Talk about a great legacy and how one voice can truly make a difference.
Five years later, not only is the event gaining in popularity, but the NAAC is continuing its efforts to build awareness about Native American culture and to enhance and build Native American programs at IUP, including exchanges and educational events.