By: Jianna Vasquez
NMSU’s American Indian program (AIP) kicked off their annual American Indian week on April 3rd. The organization showcased a variety of events throughout the week, which included native dances, art, discussion panels and tacos.
The week-long event is organized by student-run organizations: American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), United Native American Organization and Native American Business Student Association(NABSA) with the support of AIP.
Members of the American Indian program want to share who they are and where they come from with the NMSU community. It is also a week to recognize the many American-Indians that attend NMSU.
“There are so many cultures that we want to share with the whole university,” said AIP member, Shawn Aragon.
Lanirae Padilla, who is a part of the Navaho Nation Tribe and is the Current NMSU Miss Native American for the 2016-2017 year, said that American Indian week isn’t only a week for Native Americans, but it’s also a week for Non-natives to come together and encourage each other different ethnicities.
“Being here makes me happy to see how everyone comes together to get educated on each other’s culture,” said Padilla. Padilla’s roommate and escort for the day, Taryn Smith agreed with her and said that this week gives her an opportunity to learn about her friend’s culture.
“As someone who did not grow up Native American I have learned so much, not only from this week, but by living with my roommate,” said Smith.
American Indian week offered a variety of different events for the community to attend and learn about the American Indian Culture.
Wednesday, April 5, the organization held its annual taco demonstration.
“The taco is basically a staple in all our communities,” explained Aragon. “It’s just called different in every nation we have Apache tacos, Navaho tacos, Indian tacos.” “Everyone just loves tacos.”
Indian Tacos are much like traditional tacos except they are on an open-faced fried bread. Indian fry bread is made up of: Flour, salt, baking powder, water and is fried in Vegetable oil. The fried bread is then topped with meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and onions to make up what is known as the Indian taco.
The taco demonstration was accompanied by performance from the Cibecue Crown Dancers from the Southwest Apace tribe. The Cibicue Crown Dancers performed some of their traditional dances.
The Miss Native American NMSU pageant also took place during American Indian week. Padilla will give her crown to the winner of the pageant on Thursday.
Contestants of the pageant are judges on four categories which include: a traditional activity, public speaking, an impromptu question and overall presentation. The winner of the pageant will ultimately serve as an ambassador of NMSU’s Native American community.
American Indian closed out with an arts and crafts fair on Friday where members of the community will learn how to make traditional art and a story tellers concert.
The finale of American Indian week will be on Saturday where there will be another arts and crafts fair and one last chance for the community to purchase Indian tacos and see Jemez Dancers perform.
The American Indian program hopes that American Indian week has given the NMSU community a chance to embrace and learn about their indigenous culture and beliefs.
For any question on the American Indian Program you can call 575-646-4207