- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A prison group is helping Native American inmates keep ties with their culture and connect them to former members who have been incarcerated.

The Native American Spiritual and Cultural Awareness club, or NASCA, held a two-hour powwow for members Monday at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.

The group’s chairman said the powwow, in which inmates danced around a drum and sang in unison, helps rehabilitate inmates. Chairman Michael Sims told the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1zIZ7fD ) that inmates value their time around the drum.

“We’re singing our hearts out,” he said. “It’s uplifting.”

Ron Sun Bear, an Oglala Lakota, is now serving two drug sentences and said NASCA has been helping him stay connected to his culture.

“When we sit at that drum, we can sit with pride and sing and represent who we are,” said the 37-year-old Sun Bear.

Guno Yankton, who was the powwow’s honoree because he recently earned his high school diploma, is serving 4 to 6 years on an attempted robbery conviction out of Lancaster County.

“I am happy today,” the 22-year-old said.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com


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