HWS Day Provides Insight into Native American Heritage – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS Day Provides Insight into Native American Heritage

The sixth annual HWS Day, “Celebrating Our Native American Heritage,” featured celebrated filmmakers, prize-winning novelists, nationally recognized poets, remarkable performers and experts in a successful and informative two-day event.

A screening of Seneca filmmaker Terry Jones' two short films started the activities. “The Thomas Indian School Reunion” illustrated the profound experiences of — and long-term effects on — those who attended Native American schools. “Corn Soup and Me” illustrated the intense preparation necessary for preparing corn soup, a dish that is considered a delicacy in Native American culture. Although the films dealt with extremely diverse topics, each presented viewers with a significant piece of Native American history and reminded us that despite our different cultures, we are all human beings.

“There are common threads in all of us and it is important for us to see that,” said Jones. After the viewings, Jones offered samples of his own corn soup, a delicious conclusion to the evening.
The following day, a Native Literature and Cultural Expression symposium featured Joy Harjo, Penelope Kelsey, Susan Power and Scott Stevens. From Native American epistemology to magical realism, the panelists spoke on a wide range of topics depending on each individual’s area of expertise. The panel dealt with the idea that culture is an ongoing movement and the need to discuss various cultures.

“Celebrating Our Native American Heritage” culminated with a remarkable performance that evening by Harjo and Power.

“Although it often goes unnoticed, there is a strong Native American presence surrounding us,” said Mary Hess, instructor of English. “I hope that HWS Day gave our students a sense of this important legacy and will begin a significant learning process for all of us.”