Traditional food, dancing and drumming helped CSU’s Native American Student Association (NASA) thank its supporters Saturday in the Lory Student Center in its inaugural Spring Honor Day PowWow.
Marcella Talamante, a senior agriculture business and education student, is president of NASA, and said the event was a celebration and a chance to gather.
“Powwows are a gathering of different tribes who come together and celebrate anything from traditional values to people,” Talamante said. “This event is to appreciate all the people who have helped our organization grow.”
Talamante said they wanted to thank people who have been advisers, volunteers and active members of the organization.
Ty Smith, director of Native American Student Services (NASS), was one of these honorees.
“I am humbled they would think of me to be honored in this way,” Smith said. “I am happy to have worked with the student organization and see how they have grown and all the things they have done.”
Smith, who was part of planning the event, said the students looked at “people like advisers, past advisers and key people on campus and in the community who provided advice and direction” when choosing honorees.
In past years, NASA along with NASS has hosted an annual competition powwow in which dancers and drummers compete for honors. Due to scheduling problems, the Honor Day is a replacement for the annual spring powwow, which was moved to fall 2006.
“It’s nice to have a small gathering of people without competition,” Joseph Robertson, arena director for the Honor Day and vice president of American Indian Science and Engineering Society, said.
The Honor Day was also an avenue for awareness of Native American culture.
“It is a chance to share our national culture with the campus and community,” Smith said. “We are really looking forward to our powwow in the fall as well.”
“It is a culturally relevant event to show who we are and that we are dedicated to contributing to our community,” Robertson said.
Opening with a traditional prayer, read in Kickapoo, the events shared a traditional Gourd Dance, along with traditional dances and drumming by the Ram Nation Drum Group of CSU and Iron Horse Group out of Northern Colorado.
Stan Aschenbrenner of Parker, Colo. was a student at CSU in the mid-’90s and said he comes back as much as he can to support the organizations he was a part of, including NASS and NASA.
At last year’s powwow, Aschenbrenner took first place in the men’s dancing category. This year he participated as a non-competitive dancer.
“It’s good to come back to support the students like I was supported. The campus at various times has had a large population of native students and it is important to help them,” Aschenbrenner said. “It also gives the students a chance to put on a major event.”
Aschenbrenner also said it was great to see the Fort Collins community involved.
“It’s great to see local support for student organizations,” he said. “It’s great to see the campus and community supporting each other again.”
In addition to honoring advisers, volunteers and active members, the event also honored six graduating seniors, who have been a part of NASS and NASA.
“I’m very proud of them, that they have reached this milestone in their lives. They should be very proud of themselves,” Smith said. “But I also remind them not to forget the next generation, to encourage children to go to college.”