Native Americans Dance To Increase Awareness
At Wednesdays Native American bazaar, members of the Pueblo Dance Group of Rochester performed tribal dances for the Student Unions noontime crowd. Image Contributor
The beating of drums and the sound of tribal songs enticed passers-by to stop at a Native American bazaar Wednesday in the Student Union.
According to the Native American People's Alliance, the midday bazaar was held in an effort to increase cultural awareness.
The group sponsors Latino, Asian and African bazaars throughout the year, according to senior biological sciences major Rebekah Stormm, NAPA treasurer.
"Cultures are made up of many different things," Stormm said. "One of the things we feature this year is dance."
The contextually rich Eagle and Butterfly dances, which support nature and depict stories about animals, were featured at the event. In addition, handmade crafts were available for purchase.
Organizers said that awareness of Native American issues has been heightened in recent months due to press coverage of casinos, tax exempt status and battles over rightful land ownership of territories such as Grand Island.
"Many Native Americans didn't want the casinos," Stormm said. "It's against our religion."
According to NAPA President and senior Native American studies major Aaron Strobel, awareness is, however, on the rise.
"People are learning more about the treaties between the United States and natives of America," said Strobel. "Ever since I was a little boy I watched 'Indian' films and documentaries. The history of the United States starts with Native Americans."
Strobel said much of the Native American tradition was lost when the European landing on North American soil in the 17th century led to massacres and plagues. Yet he said groups like the Native American People's Alliance keep their culture alive.
"(Native Americans) still have a strong dominant culture," he said. "They're a separate sovereign nation. They are not conquered."
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