Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Helena Rodriguez
PORTALES—Native American Heritage Month kicks off on campus Monday, Nov. 1. During the month-long celebration, people will have an opportunity to hear national award-winning flutists and experience Native American art firsthand by creating their own jewelry. In addition, about eight tribes will be represented during a Tribal Day slated for Nov. 22.
The month-long celebration kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 1 with the beginning of competitions for the third annual Miss Native American ENMU Pageant. During the three-day competition, contestants will compete in interview, fashion, traditional and contemporary talent categories. The reigning Miss Native American ENMU, Dwan Martinez, will have a farewell banquet honor banquet on Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Zia Room.
Utahna Livingston, director of the Office of Native American Affairs, said the performances of Native American Music Awards winner Robert "Tree" Cody and Hovia Edwards on Nov. 9 will be a main attraction.
"Hovia opened for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and both she and Robert "Tree" are really famous among Native American communities," Livingston said. Cody is more commonly referred to as "Tree" and recently recorded a collaborative album, Reflections," with Edwards, who is regarded as a world-renowned female flutist.
Additional highlights of the month will include a Veteran's Memorial Dedication on Veteran's Day, featuring speaker Charlotte Atso, a Navajo veteran from Farmington, and a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in which the history of the Native Americans and their role in this American holiday will be highlighted. There will also be a Native American Vendors' Day in which artists from around the state will sell their handcrafted goods inside of the Campus Union Building. Finally, the month will cap with a Native American Affairs Scholarship Day on Nov. 29 from 8–5 p.m. in the Native American Affairs Office. Information and applications will be distributed for upcoming scholarship awards.
During Native American Tribunal Day on Nov. 22 in the CUB lobby, Livingston said about eight tribes, including representatives from Cherokee, Navajo and Chickasaw, will be on hand to talk about their cultures, oral traditions and do some demonstrations. Local school children are expected to attend.
Livingston is also hoping the second annual Native American Vendors' Day will be a big hit. "A lot of people are always asking me where I get my jewelry and, because Gallup is too far to go for some people, I thought, 'Why don't we do this event and bring people here to sell their jewelry?'" Livingston said.
During the "Experiencing Native American Art" event on Nov. 16, children and adults will get an opportunity to try their own hands at things such as beadwork, making rattles and weaving.
Diana Cordova, director of Multicultural Affairs at Eastern, said Native American Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the significant contributions Native Americans have made. "Tribal traditions have brought values which are ingrained in the American way of living. I would like to invite the public to celebrate this spirit by attending the events planned throughout the month," Cordova said.