November 16, 2010
The Rollins community celebrated American Indian Education Week from November 8-11 with daily programming, starting with an exhibit on Native American people and cultures held in Olin Library.
The American Indian Student Organization (AISO), one of 19 cultural organizations overseen by the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA), organized the event. The group’s mission is to spread awareness of American Indian history and heritage, promoting acceptance and understanding as well as fostering a diverse community on campus.
A traditional dance performance was held inside the Campus Center on Tuesday, November 9, during common hour. The show was both evocative and empowering; two female and three male dancers took to the stage, mesmerizing the audience with distinguishable body movements and chants. Dance is a common element in every Native American culture. Originally used to recognize acts of bravery demonstrated in battle, dance has evolved to represent a process of self-transformation and discovery.
“Many people don’t know that, depending on whether you come from the North or a tribe from the way South, everything from the steps to the regalia is different,” said AISO President Sonia Minors (Class of 2012).
The festivities continued throughout the week; AISO’s tabling in front of the campus center during lunch hours educated the community about the American Indian way of life. Additionally, John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, spoke on the topic of civil rights issues Thursday night in the Galloway room.
Here’s an interesting bit of Rollins College history: former student Tina Osceola (Class of 1989) is a descendent of Chief Osceola. As a student, she brought the first and only (to date) authentic powwow to campus, complete with alligator wrestlers, dancers and Seminole food. A powwow is a celebration of the seasonal renewal of life during which people congregate to sing, dance and renew old friendships and form new ones.
Planning is underway for another powwow to be held on campus in the fall of 2011; Minors will organize a committee to help plan this event. If you are interested, please e-mail Sonia Minors at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachel Luce, assistant director of multicultural affairs, at email@example.com.
By Anna Montoya (Class of 2013)
Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.