Photo courtesy of Wayne Armstrong

The DU Native Student Alliance (NSA) hosted their 7th annual New Beginnings Pow Wow on Sunday, March 7. The presentation of American Indian culture took place on Driscoll Green where members of the DU community could take a seat and witness traditional performances from native dancers and drummers. Performers were from the Colorado area as well as other western states including: South Dakota, Oklahoma, Wyoming, New Mexico and Nebraska.

Co-chair of NSA Autumn Raynne, who is a DU second year majoring in psychology and Italian with a minor in writing, values her culture and explains that there is worth in having the Pow Wow at DU. “As students it’s just really nice to host because, you know, we’re showing people [that] this our culture,” said Raynee, “we’re celebrating our history, our struggle, [our] life. It’s a nice break from school.”

Numerous events took place throughout the day. Starting with the Grand Entry, everyone was asked to stand to welcome performers as they arrived in traditional clothing filled with bright, warm colors. Performers then stood in a circle to honor past veterans and warriors. Afterwards, royalty came forward to introduce themselves, and the northern and southern drum sections (Crazy Horse and Rattpack, respectively) were introduced as well.

Other events following the Grand Entry included: the Cheyenne Viola Subryan “Tiny Tot Special,” the Head Girl’s special with a follow up hand drum contest, a junior competition, SunShine Sweet Water 18+ Jingle special, a Teen competition, the Head Lady Dancer Dawn’s Senior Women’s Tradition Special 35+ and an adult competition. The event concluded with the Head Man Maverick’s Rabbit Dance Special.

The Pow Wow also allotted time to honor Native members of the DU community with a blanket ceremony. Those celebrated were Native DU graduates and Illif School of Theology’s Dr.Tink Tinker. The graduates who were honored are Justus Gibson (physics major, Choctaw nation), Skyler Anselmo (film major, Pima nation) and Justine Medina (international administration graduate, Navajo nation). Tinker, who is a professor of American Indian cultures and religious traditions, is of the Osage nation and will be retiring after 20 years of teaching.

Inclement weather resulted in the remainder of the events to be moved indoors.

Between event transitions, non-native guests could participate in inter-tribal dances.

Aside from the events taking place at the center of the field, numerous vendors were in attendance to sell a variety of goods including jewelry, pottery, blankets, dreamcatchers, t-shirts, etc.

Plenty of food providers were at Driscoll Green. The food trucks included Dude Bro Taco, Bean Machine, DU Grilling Society and Sweet Cow. The most popular caterer was Tocabe, the American Indian eatery which specializes in Indian tacos.

Guests could also partake in a raffle to win skateboard decks. Proceeds went to building skate parks on reservations and providing skateboards for Native kids in Pine Ridge in South Dakota.

NSA advisor and Director of the Native American Community Partnerships and Programs Viki Eagle was the coordinator of the Pow Wow. She hopes that the takeaway from the event is that the “Native community feels love from us and that we care about them.” For students and attendees, Eagles hopes that gain a better respect and understanding for “the original people of this land.”

Despite representing a minimal population of the campus’s student body, another event with a large attendance organized by the NSA also organized last year’s protest in response to DU’s hosting of the 2016 Denver Pipeline Conference.