Ceremony, cultural event to honor Native American students at UW on Nov. 3

    (Laramie, WY) – The University of Wyoming President’s Office, Wyoming Humanities Council, University of Wyoming Art Museum, Chief Washakie Foundation, University of Wyoming College of Law, Eastern Shoshone Education, and the Zedora Teton Enos Excellence Fund are sponsoring the Native American Scholarship and Awards Ceremony and a cultural event titled “Good Medicine” with well-known guest speakers, Gary Davis, Tatanka Means, and Jason Baldes, on November 3, 2023 located at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. The awards ceremony will be 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The cultural presentation will begin at 1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

    The awards ceremony will recognize our University of Wyoming Native American students for their excellence and accomplishments in education. We are also recognizing several individuals through Distinguished Leadership Awards who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in four categories as administrators, faculty, students, and community members for their contributions to education, entrepreneurship, cultural and language preservation and community development needs.

    Gary Davis will provide an opening motivational talk and will be the master of ceremonies for the awards and cultural presentation. Gary, also known as Litefoot, is a Native American business professional, actor, and musician. He is the Executive Director of the Native American Financial Services Association, CEO of Davis Strategy Group and a member of the Forbes Finance Council. As an actor, he is best known for his roles as Little Bear in the movie The Indian and the Cupboard and Nightwolf in Mortal Kombat.

    Jason Baldes received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences from Montana State University where he focused on Tribal Bison Restoration. Jason is the Tribal Buffalo Program Manager for the National Wildlife Federation’s Tribal Partnership’s Program. He sits on the board of directors for the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, board of trustees for the Conservation Lands Foundation, and the environmental commission of the Congress of Nations and States. He is the executive director of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative. He is also a professor for Central Wyoming College and Wind River Tribal College. During his presentation Jason will share clips of the two Ken Burns documentaries he recently appeared in. 

    Tatanka Means is an award-winning actor and stand-up comedian. He represents the Oglala Lakota, Navajo and Omaha Nations. He can be seen most recently in Martin Scorsese’s newly released western crime drama, Killers of the Flower Moon, based on the best-selling book, Wind River 2: The Next Chapter, guest starring in Reservation Dogs and in the new season of Outer Range on Amazon. He just finished filming on Kevin Costner’s new epic saga, Horizon due out next year. Means was recently recognized and awarded Entertainer of the Year by the National Indian Gaming Association. Tatanka is proud to be an alcohol and drug free performer. Tatanka will give a keynote address during the awards ceremony titled “Native Representation in the Entertainment Industry.” During the cultural presentation he will do Stand-up comedy. 

    The Eagle Spirit Dancers and Singers will perform exciting dance demonstrations in between the three guest speaker’s presentations. Gary Davis will explain the origins and meaning behind each dance category seen at most pow wows today. This cultural presentation is titled Good Medicine. Following the presentation there will be a reception. During the reception we will have a table and backdrop set up for Tatanka to sign autographs and take pictures. 

    We are welcoming you to be part of this eventful afternoon in recognizing and celebrating our Native American students for their excellence in education and leadership. In recognition of Native American Heritage Month we invite you to learn more about our Native American culture rich in history and tradition. We hope this experience will help build bridges between cultures and create a better understanding and encourage positive relationships between communities.

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