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EIU Media Relations

Road Scholar to give EIU a peek into the American Indian way of life


(Charleston, Illinois) -- A special program to discover the world of the American Indian is planned on Nov. 9 in celebration of Native American Heritage Month. The program is part of EIU Booth Library’s Big Read program.

Illinois Humanities Road Scholar Kim McIver Sigafus will present “A Peek Into the American Indian Way of Life Through Their History and Oral Traditions” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9 at the Doudna Fine Arts Center on the EIU campus. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this program will be available by livestream only. Watch live from the Doudna Fine Arts Center YouTube channel at The program is free and open to the public.

This presentation will invite people into the world of the American Indian to discover what it once was to be Native, and what it means to be Native now. An Ojibwa, Sigafus will be dressed in her traditional Native regalia, and will present on Native culture through oral traditions, language, and history. She will discuss Native encampment life and will drum and sing an Ojibwa lullaby.

Sigafus is an internationally published award-winning Ojibwa author and speaker. Her family is from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. Her Ojibwa name, Bekaadiziikwe, means “Quiet Woman.” Sigafus has presented Native American programs at venues across the Midwest.

This program is presented by Booth Library and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and is funded through a grant from Illinois Humanities.

The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts that is designed to broaden our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Booth Library received a $14,000 Big Read grant to support a community reading program during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The local NEA Big Read program focuses on the book “An American Sunrise,” by Joy Harjo, the first Native American to hold the position of U.S. Poet Laureate. Local programs sponsored by many community organizations will take place through April 2021.

Free paperback copies of “An American Sunrise” are available at Booth Library. The book will be provided to students in EIU English classes, as well as to high schools in the region through the Eastern Illinois Writing Project and Eastern Illinois University Teaching with Primary Sources initiatives.

Additional programs will be added to the schedule and will be updated on The Big Read website at For more information, contact Janice Derr, Big Read project director at Booth Library, at or (217) 581-7555.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.



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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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