Powwow honors scholarship winners

Elizabeth Giorgi

USCHOLARSHIPS ARE INTENDED TO IMPROVE GRADUATION RATES

University scholarship recipients were honored Friday with an American Indian powwow.

The American Indian Student Cultural Center hosted the ninth annual Ethel Curry Fall Welcome Feast and Powwow on Friday in the St. Paul Student Center. The center honored 23 recipients of the 2005 Ethel Curry American Indian Scholarships.

The powwow started with a grand entry of beating drums from the Red Lake Singers, which was followed by traditional American Indian songs and dances.

First-year student Koren Briggs received an Ethel Curry scholarship.

Briggs has been taking part in activities that the American Indian Student Cultural Center holds, such as the cultural house and study groups, she said.

She said she wants to help change stereotypes about American Indians and help show that they can be successful in college.

Ethel Curry was a 1914 University graduate who invested money her entire life. When she died at the age of 107 in 1995, she bequeathed $1 million to the University for scholarships to American Indian students.

“American Indians have the lowest graduation rate of any ethnic group in the country,” said Kate Beane, an American Indian studies and English senior.

Beane said the scholarships are intended to improve graduation rates.

Sisters Kate Beane and Carly Beane said they hope the Cultural Center can help American Indian students find a community and feel at home.

Being there for each other can really help to improve students’ studies and help to share the American Indian culture, Carly Beane said.

Jerry Dearly, an American Indian education teacher for St. Paul public schools, was the master of ceremonies for the event.

He has performed this role for University powwows 12 times for various events, he said.

“My favorite aspect is being asked to emcee every year,” he said. “I consider it an honor.”

Dearly grew up singing and dancing for powwows and has used that knowledge to continue being a part of them.

He said it is an honor to act as master of ceremonies for events such as Ethel Curry because it is important to honor the students. It is great to be a part of honoring these distinguished individuals, he said.

Carly Beane is a member of the American Indian Student Cultural Center board and said she was excited to organize her first powwow.

She said this is the first time in the nine years that the Cultural Center hosted this event that the students of the board have actually planned and managed the powwow, she said.

Planning the powwow has been a learning experience because the students have never planned the powwow themselves and that was the most difficult part, she said.