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Month-long Native American Cultural Celebration begins Wednesday

MINOT, N.D. – The Minot State University Native American Cultural Center and Club, along with the MSU Diversity Council, will begin a month-long Native American Cultural Celebration Nov. 1.

The celebration is throughout the month of November and has events ranging from guest speakers to discussion and panels.

The first event scheduled is Native American-Indigenous Celebration featuring guest speaker Dr. Don Bartlette – author of “Macaroni at Midnight” – on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at 10 a.m. at the MSU Conference Center. The Native American Center with host an Open House on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 305 at the Student Center. On Nov. 20, Melissa Olson, co-writer and co-producer of the audio documentary “Stolen Childhoods” will be featured; Nov. 27 a discussion panel on Native American-Indigenous people is scheduled for 2 p.m.; and Nov. 30 will feature Alex DeCoteau, who will present his thesis, “We are not trying to save the language. The language is trying to save us.” The time and location for DeCoteau’s presentation will be determined later in the month.

“These events will provide opportunities to learn about our Indigenous people, their lives, and how they got to where they are today – successful,” said Annette Mennem, MSU’s Native American Center Director.

Dr. Bartlette’s autobiography “Macaroni at Midnight” is about his childhood as a Native American growing up off the reservation in poverty, with speech and other disabilities. He suffered from school and family violence, racism, child abuse, and living in an environment of alcoholism. With the help of one person in a community that showed unconditional love, acceptance, and compassion, he was able to overcome his disadvantages to become a success in life.

Olson’s audio documentary “Stolen Childhoods” tells the stories of her mother’s adoption into a white family and out of the Ojibwe Tribe in Minnesota. Olson works as an Indian Child Welfare Act Guardian, ad Litem for the 4th Judicial District of Hennepin County in Minneapolis.

DeCoteau will present his thesis with MSU professor Daniel Conn. The purpose of his thesis is to illuminate the lived experiences with the Ojibwe language as an endangered curriculum. They will offer primary accounts of the importance of the Ojibwe language.

“There are many phases of our indigenous peoples history all have commonality —colonization. An attempt to assimilate our Indigenous people failed, it is evident in modern day — post-colonization times — through powwows, honorings, ceremonies, programs, and language revitalization,” Mennem said. “During Minot State University’s November Native American Cultural Celebration month, we will hear from people who experienced these phases of history.  Total assimilation didn’t happen for them, and the healing they needed and experienced was found within their own Indigenous lands.”

The Nov. 27 discussion panel “Contemporary Issues and Solutions in Tribal Country” will include Jona Peltier, from the Seven Stone Center for Behavioral Health and Healing in Belcourt, N.D.; Evan Peltier, TMBCI Tribal Finance; Marc Bluestone, New Town Schools; and Scott Davis, North Dakota Indian Affairs Commissioner.

For more information on the events and for updates with times and dates during the month-long celebration, contact Mennem at or visit the MSU Diversity Council’s website at

Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 10/30/17

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