Each academic year since 2003, the Waleska college has designated a region of the world for students and the community to learn more about through in-depth study and special events. This year has been selected as "Year of North American Indigenous Peoples."
The goals for the program, according to college officials, are to "promote a deeper understanding of varied cultures, businesses, histories, geographies and faiths, and to encourage openness in young people and the community to cultures and traditions beyond their own experience."
Previous "Year Of" programs have focused on the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia.
Partnering with the college for this year's program is the Funk Heritage Center, Georgia's official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretative Center, which is on the Reinhardt campus.
"This year's program will give students and the community the opportunity to delve into the rich history of Native peoples and experience these cultures first-hand," said Michael Martinez, director of the Hill Freeman Library and Spruill Learning Center and chairman of the "Year Of" committee. "Events are scheduled throughout the academic year and include authentic cultural performances and re-enactments, monthly speakers, a weekly film-and-discussion series, and a spring music festival."
The events will kick off on Thursday with performances at 10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Falany Performing Arts Center by the Kevin Locke Native Dance Ensemble.
The performance group represents the Plains nations of Lakota, Anishinabe and Comanche, the Southeastern Choctaw and the Woodlands nations of Ojibwe and Oneida.
Tickets are $30 for adults and $24 for seniors 55 and older and students younger than 12. For information, call (770) 720-9167 or see the Web site at www.reinhardt.edu/fpac.
The Rev. Ed Swehla at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, will present a talk on Native American spirituality and the importance of spirituality in one's everyday life. The free program is in the college's Echo Garden behind the Hasty Student Life Center.
On Nov. 19, Native Sun News editor Tim Giago will speak on the evolution of oral tradition into written tradition. Giago founded the Lakota Times and the Lakota Journal, and was the founder and first president of the Native American Journalists Association.
Other speakers who will visit the campus include Richard L. Thornton, a Creek Indian architect and city planner, and Dr. Tanis Thorne, a history lecturer at the University of California-Los Angeles.
Every Thursday at 2 p.m., there will be free movie screening at the Funk Heritage Center followed by a talk about the film.
The films are: Thursday, "The New World;" Oct. 1, "Drums Along the Mohawk;" Oct. 8, "Dances with Wolves;" Oct. 15, "Cheyenne Autumn;" Oct. 22, "Fort Apache;" Oct. 29, "Geronimo: An American Legend;" Nov. 5, "I Will Fight No More Forever;" Nov. 12, "Little Big Man;" Nov. 19, "Soldier Blue;" and Dec. 3, "Crazy Horse."
The Funk Heritage Center on Thursday also will celebrate the opening of a new exhibit, "The Kiowa Five," with a reception at 4:15 p.m.
The 30 paintings in the exhibit are considered by historians as a critical influence in the development of modern indigenous people's art when they were produced in a limited edition in Paris in 1929. The five young Kiowas from the Anadarko region of Oklahoma began their art training at the University of Oklahoma in the 1920s. They were among the first native Americans to obtain training in a university setting, using modern artists' material and receiving academic instruction.
The paintings were a gift to the college from Clarence and Margaret Rogers.
Admission to the special event on Thursday is free. The exhibit is open through March. Regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Regular admission is $6 for adults, $5.50 for seniors older than 65 and $4 for children younger than 18.
For information about the "Year Of" programs, call (770) 720-5995, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or see the Web site at www.reinhardt.edu/visitors.