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Libraries celebrate Native American Heritage Month

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Alan Bryant

Libraries around the country observe numerous occasions which promote awareness about topics that are relevant to different age and patron groups. Programming jumps from banned books to privacy to teenagers to volunteers, always with the intention of helping patrons to understand and appreciate subjects that are important to libraries and the communities they serve.

In this regard, Delta County Libraries is pleased to celebrate Native American Heritage Month with programming and displays highlighting Native Americans in Delta County and beyond. The library district works year-round with the Native American Cultural Program (NACP), a group based in Montrose, and its Delta affiliate, Native American Cultural Committee (NACC), to plan events throughout the county for the education and entertainment of all residents.

Jo-an Barnett chairs the NACC and is one of the main promoters of Native American Heritage Month in Delta County. She says, "It is important to honor our cultural diversity and remember the indigenous people of our area. We are fortunate to have those of Native American Heritage here, such as Roland McCook, Ute, and Alan "Stands Alone" Bryant, Cherokee, as well as Delta's Mayor Ed Sisson, also of Cherokee heritage. They can tell us firsthand about their respective people."

In fact, both Roland McCook and Alan Bryant will be presenting this month with two very different approaches. McCook, a descendant of Chief Ouray and a charismatic speaker, will show the video, "Doctrine of Discovery." This compelling film explores the role that historic European documents have played in U.S. laws and relations with Native Americans. McCook will host a discussion following the video. The event will take place Saturday, Nov. 14, at 3 p.m. at the Center for Spiritual Living, 658 Howard Street in Delta.

The following weekend, Bryant, an actor, model and writer who has been involved in a number of films such as "True Grit," "Jonah Hex," and "Mandrake," will engage audience members of all ages with a lively performance about Cherokee families and ceremonies. Bryant's event will be held at the Delta Library Saturday, Nov. 21, at 1:30 p.m.

The library district is pleased to collaborate on these events. Delta Library staff member Sunshine Knight explains, "It is just too important for us not to lose any more of our Native American culture and we are proud to help provide a venue for these programs."

In addition to working with local Native American groups, this month all five branches of the Delta County Libraries will arrange various displays of books, movies and music focusing on Native American performers, history, writers and roles in contemporary society. Patrons interested in participating in Native American Heritage Month are encouraged to attend an event, check out a book, or visit with members of the NACC or NACP, whose information can be found on Facebook and at the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose.

Delta County has a huge amount of Native American history that deserves recognition, even in recent years, from the Council Tree Pow Wow to local murals to installations at Fort Uncompahgre. The libraries hope to help continue with this tradition of remembrance, preservation, and education in Delta County.

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