Western North Carolina Citizens for an End to Institutional Bigotry
September 25, 2000 7:30 pm UNC-Asheville Highsmith Student Center, Asheville, NC
"Why Educators Can't Ignore Indian Mascots" by Dr. Cornel Pewewardy
Musical Bio of Cornel Pewewardy, (Comanche-Kiowa)
Dr. Cornel Pewewardy combines creativity and a musical ear to produce traditional and contemporary Indigenous music that appeals to a broad range of audience tastes. Either playing his native flute or singing Southern Plains' songs on the "big drum," his music conveys a sense of serenity, beauty, and harmony between nature and humanity. Comel's music is a reflection of a tribal knowledge base-always leaming
and honing his music, and finding personal peace through the creation of pleasing songs. Oyate Ump Moni is Dr. Cornel Pewewardy's Dakota name. Meaning "a leader among the people," he received this name through a Dakota name-giving ceremony while he was living in Minnesota. Cornel is Comanche and Kiowa and enrolled member of the Comanche Tribe of Oklahoma.
Growing up in Southwestern Oklahoma, Cornel followed the collective talents, artists and musicians of his extended family. From this exposure, Cornel learned at an early age of his cultural ancestry and rich tribal background. Brought up on the "drum" offered internal, appreciation and luminescent spirituality that comes from singing long hours with renowned masters of the Southern Plains' song composers. The wistful simplicity of his songs give a subtle yet unmistakable powerful expression.
Cornel's strength is his tribal voice whose chants can be heard on his individual solo recordings with Sound of America Records to background harmonizing with Robbie Robertson's "Under Sea World of Red Boy" with Capital Records. His flute plays a major role in his music as well. His native flute come from the inspiration of Kiowa flute player, Woody Big Bow and Comanche artist, Woogie Watchetaker.
His music has been widely displayed throughout United States and Canada. In his performances he continues to stretch his horizons through practicing, composing, and teaching. Working with students, he says, helps him clarify for himself the important and often subtle nuances that make a good song. Cornel Pewewardy has taught Native American music and dance at the University of New Mexico and Navajo Community College.
Now living in Lawrence, Kansas, Dr. Pewewardy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership, School of Education at the University of
Kansas. He teaches courses in multicultural education and Indian education. Dr. Pewewardy keeps a busy academic schedule speaking, inservicing and making
educational presentations to diverse audiences. He has five professional recordings to date, being included in the highly-acclaimed "Between Father Sky and Mother Earth" by Narada. His first tribal hymns recording was "Comanche Hymns From the Prairie" by Sound of America Records. I-Es southern plains powwow drum group "Alliance West Singer" features his latest CD release titled, "The Warrior's Edge" by Shortwave Records. The Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers named Cornel Pewewardy the 1997 Musician of the Year. In 1998 Cornel was given the Phoenix Award for Music by the Lawrence (KS) Arts Commission. Comel is currently writing a book about southern plains style powwow singing titled, "The Southern Drum: An Oral History of Southern Plains Singers."
Cornel Pewewardy dedicates his music to the memory of those many
prominent Southern Plains' singers and composers from Oklahoma and the Southwest.
He hopes to promote and perpetuate their songs so that the younger generation will be able to enjoy, love, and understand cultural celebrations.
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