Mike Mohan, Publisher in Native Currents. Discussion »
ALLENDALE, MICHIGAN Frank Ettawageshik, the former tribal chairman of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, told a university audience at Grand Valley State University that he never leaves home without three documents: the US Constitution, his Tribe's Constitution and the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Frank Ettawageshik Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa
The three documents Ettawageshik carries each carry significant to him because of his vast work in Indian country and even internationally.
“I have gone to Washington and seen congressmen take out their pocket-size US Constitution copies, so I began to carry my pocket-size tribal Constitution - the Constitution of my Tribe. It is just as important to me as a tribal citizen. Sovereignty predates the US Constitution,”
Ettawageshik told the crowd.
“Then a few years ago I added the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This document is important because it is international. Every tribe is an individual nation.”
Ettawageshik was at Grand Valley State University to kick off the university's Native American Heritage Month events on Thursday. His presentation was entitled "Native Culture, Tradition and Heritage." He mixed history of Great Lakes American Indians with current topics important to Indians today.
During his presentation, he spoke about his father who attended Indian boarding schools. Ettawageshik described the pain experienced by many who attended boarding schools and the ill-effects that linger yet today among American Indians because of the Indian boarding school experience in the United States.
“The purpose was to strip us of our culture. They forgot they could not change the color of our skins,”
Currently, Ettawageshik serves as the executive director of the United Tribes of Michigan. Additionally, he serves as a board member of the Michigan Indian Education Council, the Crooked Tree Arts Center, Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, Great Lakes Resources Committee and sits on the Board of Advisors for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington.
Other events scheduled during Native American Heritage Month at Grand Valley State University include:
Thursday, November 8, 12 Noon - 1:00 pm - Diversity Brown Bag Series Presents: "American Indians Today" with Levi Rickert, Potawatomi, editor in chief of the Native News Network at Kirkhof Center, Allendale Campus;
Monday, November 12, 4:00 - 5:30 pm - Professionals of Color Series Presents: "Global Unity" Featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Billy Mills, Lakota, in the Cook Dewitt Center, Allendale Campus;
Wednesday, November 14, 4:00 - 5:30 pm - Violence Prevention in Indian Country: "Traditional Teachings for Today, " with Steven Naganashe Perry, Odawa/Ojibwe, Kirkhof Center, Allendale Campus and
Wednesday, November 28, 4:00 - 5:30 pm - "Power in the Blood? Moving Toward Better Standards for Indigenous Identity, " with author Gysai Ross, Blackfeet/Suquamish, Eberhard Center, Downtown Grand Rapids campus.
posted November 3, 2012 9:50 am edt
Thank you for visiting. We are loading the new Native News Network website. Visitors always come first, so if you click on a link only to find the corresponding page is unavailable, please use this link to contact us here ».
Then, tell us how we can help you.
I will contact you personally.