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An award ceremony and cultural celebration will honor Native American students at UW

Oglala Lakota Sioux actor and comedian Tatanka Means will give a presentation and share a stand-up comedy performance as part of the "Good Medicine" program at the University of Wyoming. Means most recently appeared in the newly-released Martin Scorsese film “Killers of the Flower Moon” and was also part of the television series “Reservation Dogs.”
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Oglala Lakota Sioux actor and comedian Tatanka Means will give a presentation and share a stand-up comedy performance as part of the "Good Medicine" program at the University of Wyoming. Means most recently appeared in the newly-released Martin Scorsese film “Killers of the Flower Moon” and was also part of the television series “Reservation Dogs.”

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, community members are invited to join in a celebration of Native American academic excellence and a culture presentation titled “Good Medicine” at the University of Wyoming (UW) on November 3.

Leadership awards will be presented to students, faculty, administrators and community members for their outstanding contributions in four categories: education, entrepreneurship, culture and language preservation, and community development needs. “Good Medicine” will include talks from Native experts as well as performances by the Eagle Spirit Dancers and Singers from the Wind River Reservation.

James Trosper is the special adviser on Native American affairs to UW President Ed Seidel and the executive director of the Chief Washakie Foundation. He helped organize the scholarship and awards ceremony and said the event is about acknowledging the hard work put into education, both by students and by those who support them.

“We respect that and we honor that and we want to recognize them for those accomplishments,” he said.

The awards ceremony and scholarships are sponsored by the Chief Washakie Foundation, Wyoming Humanities Council, Eastern Shoshone Education, the Zedora Teton Enos Excellence Fund, and the University of Wyoming’s Office of the President, Art Museum and College of Law.

“Knowledge of and exposure to different cultures creates understanding and builds positive relationships,” UW President Seidel stated in a University of Wyoming press release. “I hope many will take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about Native American cultures and their rich history and traditions.

Cherokee business professional, actor and musician Gary Davis will start the afternoon with a motivational talk and will serve as the M.C. for both the awards ceremony and “Good Medicine.” Davis is the executive director of the Native American Financial Services Association and is best known for his acting roles as Little Bear in the movie “The Indian in the Cupboard” and as Nightwolf in “Mortal Kombat.”

Oglala Lakota Sioux actor and comedian Tatanka Means will also give a presentation and bring some humor to the afternoon with a stand-up performance. Means most recently appeared in the newly-released Martin Scorsese film “Killers of the Flower Moon” and was also part of the television series “Reservation Dogs.”

Trosper said the afternoon’s presentation is focused on bringing awareness to Native American culture and contributions – and creating connections.

“If we can help others understand that there are more similarities between our cultures than there are differences, then maybe we can help start building bridges and a better understanding between not only our cultures, but our communities,” he said.

Trosper said that the event is intentionally free and open to the public to increase access to education about different Indigenous art, culture, and traditions.

“Fear is really the basis of prejudice, so it’s important that we create these opportunities for better understanding,” he said.

Eastern Shoshone tribal member Jason Baldes will speak about bison restoration at the event and share clips from two Ken Burns documentaries that he appears in – "The American Buffalo" and “Homecoming.” Baldes is the executive director of the Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative, and also teaches at Central Wyoming College and Wind River Tribal College.

The awards ceremony will start at noon in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts, and the cultural presentation will follow the ceremony starting at 1:15 p.m. People are welcome to attend one or both parts of the programming.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.

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