Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Currents. Discussion »
ANN ARBOR This weekend was the first visit to Michigan for Bunky Echo-Hawk, Pawnee/Yakama, but that did not prevent him from being named a "visiting professor" by the University of Michigan.
Echo-Hawk was the featured guest at the 40th Annual "Dance for Mother Earth" Powwow in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan is home to the People of the Three Fires the Ojibwe, Ottawa and Potawatomi.
During the grand entry early Saturday afternoon, Echo-Hawk performed another "first" as he painted a portrait. He began the painting as the numerous powwow drums presented their introductory songs. By the end of the grand entry, he was already putting the finishing touches on the painting.
“When I think about how this powwow is celebrating its 40th year, I think about the past 40 years and how much progress we Indians have made,”
declared Echo-Hawk to an enthusiastic crowd overflow that filled the bleachers of on either side of Pioneer High School's gymnasium.
“I am presenting this painting to the Native American Student Association of the University of Michigan,”
“They can do with it whatever the want.”
Soon thereafter, Echo-Hawk was presented a certificate making him a Martin Luther King, Jr. - Cesar Chavez - Rosa Parks "visiting professor" at the University of Michigan by Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Lester Monts. The certificate was also signed by Coleman A. Young, II, of the Michigan Senate and Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan.
Bunky Echo-Hawk, Pawnee/Yakama
Echo-Hawk, who is a designer for Nike N7, said the painting he presented to the student organization is worth $3,400. He is about half through a three year contract with Nike. Echo-Hawk has a line of popular apparel that includes t-shirts and N7 shoes. He uses colors that are vibrant and bright to demonstrate optimism and a brighter future for Native people.
“I see our future as being bright. That is a main message I like to get out to Native youth. I am very optimistic,”
stated Echo-Hawk to the Native News Network.
“I try to get this message to our youth. So many things are impacting their lives now, such as the Internet.”
“The Internet is so powerful. I often ask people what would have happened had there been Facebook in 1491?
What different results there may have been?”
“That is why we have to teach our youth to use it in the right way. I think we should even text in our own languages saying 'hello' and 'thank you' so that we can become stronger.”
Though it was his first visit to Michigan, it will not be his last. Officers from Grand Valley State University's Native American Student Association approached Echo-Hawk about bringing him back to Michigan later this year.
updated 8:15 pm edt; posted March 19, 2012 5:40 pm edt
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