Fresno State’s Neum Native American Student Association hosted the 32nd annual Pow Wow this past weekend to honor a rich culture and bring awareness to a serious cause.
A powwow is a Native American event in which people come together to celebrate their culture while having fun. At gatherings like this, people dance, sing, eat, enter contests and socialize.
The Fresno State event was held on the Peters Building’s west lawn and brought together many people, some who donned traditional Native American clothing.
While this year’s powwow featured many activities, it was dedicated to murdered and missing indigenous women and children.
“Unfortunately it’s becoming a huge problem in our country, so we have to do something to change it,” said Aaron Greene, an association committee member, of the weekend’s cause. “First thing you do is bring recognition to it and realize what it is.”
Greene described the awareness of these victims as a “nationwide campaign” because everyone who attended and supported the cause came from different areas.
“We do have individuals coming from all the way up, as far as Canada, Oklahoma — throughout all of the United States,” Greene said.
Powwows take place all over the country, each one having its special cause, but each one having the same purpose: to celebrate community, Greene said.
“It’s important that we maintain these traditions of our people who’ve had these traditions for thousands of years and to bring the community together for that is also really important to us,” said Bryce Herrera, president of the student organization.
Herrera also explained why this event is crucial for Fresno State students to know about.
“I want students to know that this is an intertribal event, a celebration of heritage and culture,” Herrera said. “This is an educational event that you should experience at least once while you’re here at Fresno State.”
Daniel Velasco was one Fresno State student who said he learned a lot while attending the powwow.
“Even if you aren’t native, it’s important to be aware of this — of the culture of the first people and the colorfulness of it all,” Velasco said. “Knowing about Native Americans and the history of this country is something I will take away from this for sure.”