The 38th Annual World Touch Cultural Heritage Week at the University of Minnesota, Morris will be held Saturday, March 26, through Thursday, March 31, 2011. “Unweaving the Journey of Our Ancestors” will be a series of events celebrating the diversity of the ethnic minority groups on campus and throughout the country. Almost all of the events are free and open to the public.
On Saturday, March 26, the 27th Annual Circle of Nations Indian Association Powwow will be held in the Physical Education Center. Grand entries are at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.
On Sunday, March 27, at 7 p.m., the Spoken Word/Open Mic/ International Cafe is open to individuals who would like to showcase their talents through spoken word, poetry, song, and/ or artistic performance. The event is held in the Student Center’s Turtle Mountain Cafe.
On Monday, March 28, at noon, a special collaboration between the WTCHW and the Prairie Literary Festival will be held in the Student Center’s Alumni Room.
“Unweaving the Journey of our Ancestors: Exploring Identity through Writing (Culture, Gender, and Politics in Literary Arts)” will feature a panel discussion on the topics of harnessing the creative process, opportunities, and challenges in sharing your story, conflicts with identity, and current and future media representations.
Panelists will be Prairie Literary Festival guest writer Kiese Laymon, assistant professor of English, creative writing, and African studies at Vassar College; WTCHW special guest Georgina Lightning, a First Nations film director, screenwriter, and actor; and Argie Manolis, Office of Community Engagement coordinator and English instructor at Morris.
At 7 p.m. on Monday, Lightning’s film Older than America will be screened in the Student Center’s Edson Auditorium. The film explores the lasting impact of the cultural genocide that occurred at Indian boarding schools across the United States and Canada. Lightning, a Mushwatchees Cree of the Samson Cree Nation, was born in Edmonton, Canada, and was featured in Filmmaker Magazine as one of 25 new faces of independent film in 2007.
On Tuesday, March 29, For Colored Girls will be screened in Edson Auditorium at 7 p.m. The film is inspired by Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf,” which made its stage debut in 1974, combining poetry, dance, and music, and most significantly, placing the black female experience center stage.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry adapted this landmark work for the big screen, integrating the vivid language of Shang’s poems into a contemporary narrative that explores what it means to be a woman of color—a woman of any color—in this world. Following the screening, a student panel will discuss what it means to be a woman of color today.
On Wednesday, March 30, keynote speaker Sarah Culberson, stage, film, and television actor, will present “From African American to African Princess: One Woman’s Search for her Roots,” at 7 p.m. in the Student Center’s University Room.
Born in West Virginia to an African father and a white mother, Culberson was given up to foster care and adopted by a loving white family. She grew up contemplating her identity and biracial roots, and eventually learned that she is from a royal family in Sierra Leone, a Maholoi. She is a princess, the granddaughter of a paramount chief and daughter of the chief of Bumpe.
WTCHW closes with an invitational dinner on Thursday, March 31. Guest speaker will be Dorothy Smith, community activist. Graduating seniors in the Multi-Ethnic Student Program will be honored.
The 2011 WTCHW planning committee includes Melissa Hernandez ’14, El Paso, Texas, Voces Unidas; Patrick Lindquist ’13, Hill City, E-Quality; Sue Lor ’09, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Programs; Swati Narayan ’12, International Student Association; Tracy Peterson, Office of Equity, Diversity and Intercultural Programs; Kelsey Scareshawk ’14, Savage, American Indian Science & Engineering Society; Brianca Smith ’13, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Women of Color Association; Robyn Straw ’11, Circle of Nations Indian Association; Bonnie Tipcke ’74, Office of Equity, Diversity, and Intercultural Programs; PaHoua Vang ’12, Asian Student Association; Pang Vang ’11, Minneapolis, Asian Student Association; and Isaac VanStory ’13, St. Paul, Black Student Union.