Silhouetted against the red brick of the Lory Student Center and bright blue sky, members of Native American tribes from Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, and other places performed traditional dances and songs before a crowd of around 100 passersby on Nov. 2.
Mathew Beardt, member of American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and organizer for the event, looked proudly onto the performers and spectators.
“We’re showcasing some of our dances that will happen tomorrow, showcasing our northern host drum and our southern host drum, and we’re doing our fry bread sale as well,” said Beardt. “The event tomorrow is up in the grand ballroom, and its free for everybody to just show up.”
The event Beardt is referring to is the 36th Annual Native American Powwow, a free event that celebrates Native American heritage and culture, serving to kick off Native American Heritage Month in Nov.
“We’re celebrating our culture, and inviting the campus out to join us,” said Beardt. “We want to remind people in a way that this is a social gathering, it’s intertribal so it’s inner people, and everyone is invited to come and dance, have a good time with us and enjoy us and our culture.”
For more information about UNACC and the events planned for Native American Heritage Month visit their Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/csunacc/
“This guy (Mathew Beardt) is teaching people a lot about our culture like I’m learning a lot right now,” Casey Key, another AISES member said. “Like what a warrior is; it’s not just going into battle, it’s somebody that protects our home, protects our culture and protects our family.”
Francis Sherwood, one of the performers and the speaker addressing the crowd during intermissions, spoke about warrior culture and its relationship to the dance and song being performed.
“A lot of our ways and our dances originated without warriors,” said Sherwood through a microphone. “And so, we have a lot of respect for our veterans, not only our past veterans and warriors but our warriors of today. What we mean by warrior is not someone who is coming out here and bullying, but protecting your home, protecting your family and protecting your way of life.”
The powwow is happening Nov. 2 in the LSC from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is free and open to all ages.
Walker Discoe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wdiscoe