PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An event conceived to heighten awareness about American Indian traditions and culture among those at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and in the surrounding region will be held on the UMPI campus.
On April 17, the college’s Native Voices group will be host to the second Native American Appreciation Day from 2 to 9 p.m. in the Campus Center. UMPI students, faculty and area residents are invited to take part in the event held with support from Project Compass.
Native Voices is a student group that provides education about tribal cultures represented on campus.
Jason Parlin, a Native Voices member who is organizing the event, said Wednesday there are between 70 and 80 American Indians at UMPI.
“The event is going to include several guest speakers from area tribes,” he said. “There also will be traditional drumming and dancing, craft workshops and many other activities.”
The event was originated last year by David Perley, a councilor with the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick and a lecturer for the University of Maine, the University of New Brunswick, and St. Thomas University.
Parlin explained that he helped organize last year’s event, adding that Native Voices later decided to keep it going.
Approximately 150 people took part in the first event, according to Parlin, who added the group hopes to see an even bigger turnout this year.
“This is a great event because it helps our Native American students get recognition on campus,” he said. “It also helps us show prospective Native American students what we are doing here and gives them a chance to step into the university atmosphere.”
Guest speakers will discuss topics such as higher education and American Indian culture, while Maliseet and Micmac craftspeople will showcase their work. Refreshments will be served and UMPI’s cafeteria will be open to attendees who would like to purchase a meal.