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Released January 11, 2004

GEIS ANNUAL POWWOW SET FOR MARCH 5-7
By Angela Cutrer

HATTIESBURG -- The Golden Eagles Intertribal Society's second annual pow-wow will be held March 5-7 on The University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.

The powwow will comprise cultural activities such as Native American dancing, singing, arts and crafts, and vendor foods, said Joseph Bohanon, faculty adviser. Proceeds from vendor sales will be used to support society activities.

"We are putting together a program for recruitment, retention and mentoring for First Nation students who want to attend and who are attending Southern Miss," said Bohanon. "It's cultural awareness but also ancestry that has a lot to do with this state, where many beginnings occurred. We want to create cultural awareness on our campus to bring people together to learn and to meet with old friends and new friends, but at the same time, to honor our ways."

A member of the Oklahoma Choctaw Tribe, Bohanon teaches a course called "Social Work and First Nations/Indigenous Peoples" in collaboration with the School of Social Work.

"The powwow is not only for the Mississippi Choctaw, but for all tribes so they can come here and know there's something established for them," he said.

The powwow's head staff includes Host Northern Drum Medicine Tail, Head Man Dancer James Sampson and Head Gourd Dancer Will Tonemah. Friday's agenda includes school day, cultural presentations, gourd dancing and the grand entry. Saturday's events include gourd dancing and grand entry. Sunday is gourd dancing, grand entry and closing ceremonies.

Established in May 2002, the Golden Eagles Intertribal Society group's mission of creating a stronger presence for Native American students on the Southern Miss campus is an effort to dispel stereotypes by educating students about Native American culture. The group numbers about a dozen, mostly from the Choctaw Indian Tribe and a few from the Chitimacha Tribe, based in Louisiana, and the Cherokee, Sioux, and Creek tribes.

Gates open to the powwow at 9 a.m. Friday at the recreational field adjacent to the Southern Miss Sports Arena, on the eastern side of the Southern Miss campus. The benefit is open to the public, with free admission from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. that Friday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday. Sunday's hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event is cosponsored by the Southern Miss Department of Recreational Sports and businesses and individuals who sponsor individual dancers or dancing categories.

In the event of bad weather, the event will be held at the Southern Miss Sports Arena.

The Golden Eagles Intertribal Society is planning fund-raisers for the upcoming event. Contact Joe Bohanon at (601) 266-4171 for more information on the powwow and how to donate goods and services or sponsorship for the event.

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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM

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