Jodi Rave: Groundbreaking for Native center

"Gyda Swaney will observe a seminal moment at the University of Montana on Saturday when she attends a ceremonial groundbreaking for a multimillion-dollar Native American Center.

“It's time,” said Swaney, a UM assistant professor of psychology. “Native Americans are asserting their right to educate and be educated in our own way. This building will provide that place.”

The public is invited to attend the 9 a.m. ceremonial event, which will embrace traditional customs of acknowledging the land before transforming it into a camp, in this case, a campsite that will provide a higher education home for future generations.

“There will be no gold shovel,” said Linda Juneau, the UM tribal liaison who has helped lead fundraising efforts. “There will be no hard hats. An offering will made.”

Tribal leaders and major donor representatives will make traditional offerings of tobacco during Saturday's ceremony, which will be led by Tony Incashola, a Salish and Pend d'Oreille elder from the Flathead Reservation. The groundbreaking will take place on the UM Oval south of the grizzly bear statue and east of the Lommasson Center.

The keynote speech will be given by Gregory Cajete, a Tewa from the Santa Clara Pueblo of New Mexico. He will speak about the importance of place to Native Americans. Cajete, a University of New Mexico professor, artist and educational consultant, was founding director of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: UM to break ground on Native center (The Missoulian 4/18)

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