L.A. Gadugi Celebration Raises College Funds

Aug 15th, 2005 | By | Category: 17-1: Telling Our Stories, Tribal College News

HEART OF RENAISSANCE. Wes Studi, who served as master of ceremonies, said, “At the very heart of this renaissance is the tribal college movement.” On his right is Kickapoo singer Arigon Starr, and his niece, Delanna Studi, is on his left. Photo by Dan Steinberg

Celebrities and supporters of American Indian education came out in large numbers last May in Los Angeles for the American Indian College Fund’s Gadugi Celebration. (Loosely translated, gadugi is Cherokee for “coming together to help the community.”) Several members of the TNT miniseries Into the West cast attended, including Matthew Settle, Gary Busey, Tonantzin Carmelo, Rod Rondeaux, Zahn McClarnon, and Wes Studi, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening.

“Today, barriers that once prevented Indian people from accessing higher education are being broken down. Communities are being revitalized. Indian people are becoming more empowered every day. And at the very heart of this renaissance is the tribal college movement,” Studi said.

The event raised $90,000 for scholarships for American Indian students attending the nation’s tribal colleges and universities. It featured performances from several Native dance groups, Kickapoo singer Arigon Starr, and headliner R. Carlos Nakai.

Because of the support of event sponsors Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A, Inc. and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, 100% of the evening’s proceeds will go directly to scholarships.

Gadugi Celebration guest of honor Wilma Mankiller stated, “The American Indian College Fund event in southern California was a wonderful mix of serious dialogue about Indian education interspersed with cultural presentations. A number of new and long-term supporters spoke about the important role tribal colleges play in the rebuilding of our nations. It is my hope that the California tribes will continue to support the American Indian College Fund and tribal college movement.”

Established in 1989, the American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest provider of private scholarships for American Indian students.

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