Spring Intertribal Gathering provides fun, information


Pheonix Harper, 7, dances in outside the arena at the Powwow on campus through the Native American Student Association on Aoril 6, 2013. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Kelsey Leyva

The sounds of drums resonated across campus throughout the day Saturday.

The Native American Student Association commenced its 2013 Spring Intertribal Gathering at 10:30 a.m. in the commons area outside Oscar Ritchie Hall. The event included two grand entries, countless social dances, two drums, many singers and musicians, face painting, a raffle, a teepee, grass weaving, eight craft vendors and one food vendor. All of the elements of the event worked together to educate attendees on the various aspects of Native American culture.

Kimberly Kennedy, interim assistant to Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, and adviser for NASA, said that the purpose of this intertribal gathering was to share information and help students gain a better understanding of the culture.

“I think it’s just brought to light that everybody has a different culture and when you actually see it in full force like this it makes you understand, be able to have other conversations, see where they came from and embrace it,” Kennedy said.

Thomas Catron, senior justice studies major and member of NASA, dressed in traditional regalia and participated in both grand entries. He said that this was his first time participating in something like this and that he was happy to have the opportunity to do so.

“I always wanted to try [traditional dance],” Catron said. “It was actually a last minute decision. The [powwows] I had been to in the past were very formal and if you don’t know what you’re doing you don’t go out. They were very welcoming towards it so I didn’t feel nervous or like I don’t belong here.”

Victoria Humphreys, senior communication studies major and president of NASA, is passionate about her heritage and handled several tasks in the coordination of the gathering including booking all the vendors, contacting the dancers and working through the allocations process. Humphreys said that a main goal of the gathering was to break down stereotypes.

“The biggest thing we want to do is break that Hollywood stereotype,” Humphreys said. “This is very beneficial for the campus to have. By having something like this, it brings culture here and it shows that we’re actually diverse.”

Haley Courtney, freshman psychology major, said that she attended the event to expand her knowledge on Native American culture.

“I’ve always found [Native American culture] really interesting,” Courtney said. “I was just kind of raised around it so I find it fascinating. I’m very into culture and world cultures and everything like that.”

Courtney also believes that events like this are beneficial to campus.

“I think it definitely helps you gain an appreciation for people that are different and for cultures that are so deep rooted in our own country,” she said. “I think we should have more stuff like this on campus because it’s a great opportunity for students who are from this background and students who are not from this background.”

Kennedy said that she was very pleased with the weather and the turnout to the event.

“The weather broke for us and everybody is, I think, enjoying all the vendors and festivities,” she said. “I couldn’t be happier with the turnout that we had. We’re looking at 250 maybe 300 [attendees].“

Kennedy said that successful turnouts like this are a reminder of why she enjoys her job and volunteering.

“This is why I work,” she said. “And this is why I do what I do with volunteering.”

Contact Kelsey Leyva at [email protected].