The Native American Awareness Council proudly presents numerous educational events throughout each school year in an effort to separate stereotypes from realities of indigenous Americans. Some of the events for 2016–17 are described below.
During several weeks in September, NAAC participated in a student-led effort to collect funds for the Standing Rock Sioux Protest Camp in North Dakota. This was to assist in the efforts to halt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On the evening of October 9, 2016, NAAC hosted award-winning Native American singer-songwriter Michael Jacobs. Jacobs performed songs about peace, justice, and the human condition. The event was well attended by both students and community members.
On November 11, 2016, NAAC served as one of the sponsors for “50 Shades of History,” a celebration of culture through art. Dancers from the Three Rivers Indian Council of Pittsburgh came to campus to perform traditional dances and speak with students
about the myth of Thanksgiving, blood quantum, mascot representation, and cultural appropriation. This was an incredibly successful event and was in collaboration with the student group IUP Artistry Movement (I AM).
To commemorate Native American Awareness Month (November), NAAC presented the viewing of two films on November 14 and 15, 2016. These included In the Light of Reverence: Protecting America’s Sacred Lands and Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Injun.
These events were open to all members of the IUP and Indiana communities.
In addition to the group’s robust programming, monthly meetings are held during both the fall and spring semesters in which activities are planned and there is continued work toward establishing a minor in Native American Studies. NAAC also supports the
activities of the student equivalent, SNAAC, which is growing in membership. Several of these students were honored to attend the 38th annual Pow Wow held by the Council of the Three Rivers American Indian Center in Dorseyville, Pennsylvania, on September
24 and 25, 2016.