Native American week promotes awareness of native cultures

Native American Heritage week began on Nov. 14 and lasted until Nov. 18 in the fountain quad at Cosumnes River College.

To kick off the week of events, the library held an opening of Native American books that told their history. Some of the book titles were “Earth Wisdom” by Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez, “Forgotten Tribes” by Mark Edwin Miller and many more.

“It is to bring not just awareness but on this campus we are less than one percent,” said 33-year-old psychology and Native American studies major Tanya Reyes, “and it is really hard to get natives involved and hard to get students to listen.”

On Nov. 15, the Water is Life event discussed the issues that are arising in North Dakota, due to the pipeline being built. Hay Days, a nonprofit organization, joined in and discussed with students about political systems and how green power should be used as an alternative source. This was to bring awareness to students about Native Americans and what they do that has not had enough coverage in the media.

“I do not see much information anywhere about Native Americans,” said 23-year-old civil engineer major My Phan. “In fact, I do not even see much Native Americans either around here.”

On Nov. 16 and 17, groups showcased the cultures through dance and what it means for them to have these dances passed through the generations. On the first day, three different tribes – Maori, Aztec and Maidu – showed up, while the next day the Tongva Nation and Miwok showed up to perform.

“Half of the time people think natives are dead, half the time people think we just do not exist anymore and when they come out of high school the history that they were taught is wrong,” said Reyes.

On Nov. 18, Reyes helped showcase a concert in the Recital Hall to finish off the week. Rappers like Mic Jordan, Frank Waln and Richie Ledreagle performed. Indie band Cody Blackbird also performed a variety of songs for the students.

“I think that it brought the Native American community together,” said Ledreagle. “I see a lot of people were excited to come out and be a part of it and wanted to meet the artists so I think that it was a good event that brought the community together.”

The week was used to inform students about the misrepresentation in the media and that the image of their culture and tribes have been misconstrued. The event also served as a reminder the Native American community is still present.

“I wanted to create an event like this to invite the Maori people, and invite the Californian Indians, out-of-city Indians and Aztecs because we are all indigenous and fighting for the exact same thing,” said Reyes.

If you would like to support the Native American Heritage week for years to come and with what is happening in North Dakota, you can use #NoDapl on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other media being used. You can also message to show support and help the community stay strong.