November is Native American Heritage Month, but the CSU American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) started celebrating a few days early.
People of all ages and backgrounds gathered in the LSC Theater for the CSU AISES’ 30th Annual Pow Wow. AISES organized the event and brought performers from all over the region to help celebrate, connect and have fun.
The Pow Wow kicked off with the Grand Entry. Dancers dressed in traditional native regalia filled the center of the LSC Theater and began dancing to the music performed by four different drum groups.
Three flag bearers were introduced: the U.S. flag, POW flag and Navajo Nation flag all hold meaning to the people involved in the Pow Wow, who paid their respects to what each flag represents.
“This Pow Wow is important to keep the power of our culture and our ways…and how important that is for our children and our people,” said speaker Doug Goodfeather (Hunkpapa Lakota) during the Ground Blessing. “Without our elders and their teachings, we wouldn’t be standing here today … without our elders and our veterans and what they sacrificed.”
Goodfeather spoke of the importance of women as well as respect and the preservation of culture. He proceeded by performing a prayer in order to thank the creator and to ask him to watch over those in need.
As the singing and dancing continued, the real reason for the Pow Wow became clear: it’s a celebration.
“It allows us to share and give back to the Native American communities as well as create an environment where non-native [people] can come and experience modern Native American culture,” wrote Delbert Willie, treasurer of AISES, in an email to the Collegian. “We continually do this every year because we believe it is an opportunity to continually educate the CSU students and the Fort Collins community on the beauty of our heritage and culture.”
The Pow Wow was not only a celebration for the Native American people in attendance, but also a celebration of the cultural similarities and differences between peoples.
AISES will be arranging more Native American celebrations and events throughout Native American Heritage month in November. For more information, visit www.engr.colostate.edu/aises or the Native American Cultural Center in the LSC Rm. 218 for more information.
Collegian Writer Davis English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.