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Memorial Day Weekend presents plenty of chances to honor and recognize ingenious and inspirational Indigenous role models, from a Muscogee movie star, to Navajo Code Talkers, to a powerful and influential Native American politician.  

How will you make this coming week one to remember? Check out Native News Online’s guide for the best of what’s coming to Indian Country. 

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Oklahoma Movie Hall of Fame Inducts Will Sampson 

WHEN: Saturday May 29, 7 p.m. 

WHERE: Roxy Theater, Muskogee, Okla. 

In the Oscar-winning 1975 film “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest,” Muscogee actor Will Sampson delivered a knockout performance without saying a word.

As the deaf and mute Chief Bromden, Sampson commanded the screen in the company of Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito. 

On Saturday, May 29, the late actor’s genius will be officially recognized with an induction into the Oklahoma Movie Hall of Fame at the historic Roxy Theater in downtown Muskogee Oklahoma.

“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was Sampson’s breakout film. The actor, who died in 1987 at the age of 53, went on to star in movies including the Clint Eastwood western “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “The White Buffalo,” in which he played Crazy Horse and Charles Bronson was cast as Wild Bill Hickock, and “Poltergeist II: The Other Side.”

Four Bears Powwow

 FourBearsThe Four Bears Powwow will take place Friday, May 28 – Sunday, May 30 at the 4Bears Casino and Lodge, in New Town, N.D. (Four Bears Powwow) WHEN: Friday, May 28 - Sunday, May 30

WHERE: 4Bears Casino Event Center, New Town, N.D. kmharadio.org

After a Powwow-free 2020 on the Fort Berthold Reservation, the Four Bears Powwow is back and taking place in person. 

The Powwow normally happens every year on the land of MHA Nation – the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara. 

A kaleidoscope of Native dance for everyone from tiny tots to the golden-aged, the Powwow is stacked with specials for chicken, grass, jingle and many more styles. And these are some high stakes contests, with prizes including up to $1,200 for first place, and 2021 Gulf Stream Trailers.

The Powwow will also have food trucks, and an arts and crafts vendor market. If you want to get in on the action and can’t attend in person, you can tune in at KMHA 91.3 FM or kmharadio.rog.  

Kevin Locke at Crazy Horse Memorial

CHCrazy Horse Memorial in Custer, S.D. will host internationally known hoop dancer and recording artist Kevin Locke on Saturday, May 29.   WHEN: Saturday May 29, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer, S.D.

All summer long, Indigenous dance, music and storytelling stars are taking the stage at Crazy Horse Memorial every day at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. 

This weekend, Kevin Locke, an internationally known Lakota and Anishinaabe hoop dancer, recording artist, and educator, will perform at a special evening show.  

Locke has traveled the world for more than four decades dancing, playing the flute, teaching flute workshops, and conducting cultural outreach programs at schools.

Last year, Locke was named Peace Prize Awardee by the Switzerland-based nonprofit International Academy for Human Sciences and Culture, and he also received a Cultural Capital Fellowship from First Peoples Fund in 2019.

Navajo Code Talkers: A Journey of Remembrance

codetalkersThe documentary "Navajo Code Talkers: A Journey of Remembrance" will be available for free streaming from Saturday, May 29 through Monday, May 31 on the website of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

WHEN: Saturday May 29 – Monday, May 31 

WHERE: Watch on the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian website  

This Memorial Day Weekend, sit back, relax and remember Native American war heroes by streaming the documentary”Navajo Code Talkers: A Journey of Remembrance.”  

Presented by The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian, the documentary will be available for free online viewing from Saturday morning through Monday night. 

The 75-minute film, written and produced by Dr. George A. Colburn of Starbright Media Corporation, is illuminated by the experiences and insights of Navajo Code Talkers Albert Smith, Teddy Draper Sr., Samuel Sandoval, Albert (Jesse) Smith, Keith Little, Samuel Tso, and younger family members.

The Codetalkers devised a code for battlefield use in their unwritten language, and it was never broken by the enemy. Gold and silver medals of honor were awarded to the approximately 400 Code Talker veterans by the U.S. Congress in 2001. 

For more about the film, visit www.TheNavajoCodeTalkers.com

Virtual Book Launch: Sharice’s Big Voice 

ShariceU.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, will celebrate the launch of her new children’s book "Sharice's Big Voice," with a virtual event on Thursday, June 3.

WHEN: Thursday, June 3, 7 p.m. CT

WHERE: Register here

“Sharice’s Big Voice,” an illustrated autobiography of groundbreaking Native American politician Sharice Davids, encourages kids to speak truth to power and make sure they are heard. 

“I wanted the book to show that everybody’s journey is different, but everybody’s journey can lead them to so many different places,” Davids, a Kansas City Congresswoman and member of Ho-Chunk Nation, said in a statement. “For me, I felt like I had a story that a lot of people might be able to understand and maybe even connect with.”

Davids, one of the first two Native American women in Congress, and the first LGBTQ congressperson to represent Kansas,  will celebrate the book’s launch with a free virtual event on Thursday, June 3. hosted by the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, Kansas.

Participants do not have to buy a book to attend. They can choose to purchase a signed copy for themselves or donate a book to the Lawrence Library Foundation, which will be distributed to area youth. 

The launch will be a double dose of Native American political power. Davids will be joined by Kansas state Representative Christina Haswood, a member of the Navajo Tribe and the youngest member of the Kansas House. 

“Sharice’s Big Voice” is co-written by Nancy K. Mays, a Kansas City-based author and instructor at the University of Kansas’ William Allen White School of Journalism. The book also contains information about the Ho-Chunk Nation, written by John Greendeer, former president of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and is illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, an Ojibwe Woodland artist from Barrie, Ontario, and a member of Wasauksing, First Nation. 

Additional information can be found at The Raven Bookstore

Have an upcoming event? Email us: [email protected]

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About The Author
Tamara Ikenberg
Author: Tamara Ikenberg
Tamara Ikenberg is a contributing writer to Native News Online. She covers tribes throughout the southwest as well as Native arts, culture and entertainment. She can be reached at [email protected]