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Annual academic activity unites Native youth from across the state

Scott Csernyik

2/9/2000 12:00:00 AM

"Aabizikaadaa enizhaaying: A Time for New Beginnings" is the theme for Career Expo 2000, scheduled to take place at the Mt. Pleasant Holiday Inn on Feb. 24 and 25.

The annual activity unites about 250 Native American high school students from across the state to further their pursuit of higher education while maintaining a cultural balance between two worlds.

"As you go through life, there will always be new beginnings," explained Higher Education Coordinator Sharon Skutt. "Native youth are now having more of an understanding about the importance of education. The opportunities are there for them to pursue a college education."

The sixth annual event, sponsored by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, also includes the chance for students to meet with about two dozen different college representatives. Workshops on financial aid and college preparedness will be interspersed with sessions on healthy lifestyles, traditional medicine and herbs, Ojibwe language preservations and other cultural aspects. A noon luncheon features a Native American dance exhibition.

"There's a definite lack of resources out there to reinforce their cultural heritage," she added. "It is imperative that we play an active role in promoting education and the reintroduction of traditional values and teachings."

To help facilitate interaction, students will be assigned to groups based on the Seven Teachings and attend workshops on a rotating schedule.

For more information about Career Expo 2000, contact the Higher Education Department at (517) 775-4506.