The University of Michigan Museum of Art drew in dozens of community members for its monthly Feel Good Friday. This month focused on Feel Good Fry Bread, an art, music and culture collaboration with the Native American Student Association (NASA) and Native American Heritage Month Committee.
Various booths were placed near the entrance, including those that featured the Ziibimijwang Farm, Black to the Land, the Dance for Mother Earth Powwow, the University’s Native American Studies Program and American Indian Health & Family Services.
Community members were also offered complimentary fry bread, a traditional Native American bread deep-fried in oil and dusted with powdered sugar.
The Ann Arbor District Library also opened a pop-up library near the Andrea Carlson “Future Cache” Gallery to feature books written by Indigenous authors.
Heron Hill Designs held a beadwork demonstration in the Multipurpose Room to showcase the process of creating beadwork and provide a space to answer questions from attendees about the historical and personal significance of the beadwork designs.
Daniel Collazos, one of the artists showcasing beadwork, told The Michigan Daily about the message they wanted to spread through their presence at the event.
“We’re just here to showcase beadwork (and) for people to see the practice itself, the time that goes into it” Collazos said. “With more (immigrants) coming through from various parts of the world, they were trading a lot of the beads with them for other supplies, be it food or clothing or whatnot, and it has become very in touch with a lot of ceremonies.”
Stacie Sheldon, author of “Beibakaan-ezhiwebiziwinan Nimkii: The Adventures of Nimkii,” spoke at the event and presented her book while detailing the significance of the evening.
“We’ll be talking about this book and a little bit about a language indigenous to Michigan,” Sheldon said. “I’ve been really looking forward to this evening. The museum has put on a really amazing evening with a native student organization here. I love the partnership.”
The event closed with a powwow demonstration of traditional dance performances and teachings in the Apse Room. Spectators were arranged in a semi-circle around the center of the performance.
LSA freshman Grace Marshall told The Daily about the importance of on-campus events centered around Native American culture and history.
“I’m a part of NASA, the organization, and I think it’s really important for people to learn about the Native American culture,” Marshall said.
NASA organizer Tyler Hudson shared why events like Feel Good Fry Bread are crucial for the public to learn about Indigenous culture and teachings.
“People are aware that Native American peoples were displaced from their homes,” Hudson said. “But I think that attending events in which Native American culture is discussed, in which Native American food is being shared, in which the history is being shared, really opens up people’s eyes to the fact that we are people that may exist, that we’re still here. It also helps people to conceptualize and understand what has been lost in the centuries of displacement.”
Daily News Reporter Sneha Dhandapani and Daily News Contributor Alexis Spector can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.