American Indian Night celebrates culture and heritage

Kolby Spomer
Staff Writer

This month MNSU is taking time to shine a light on the schools most impressive feature: its abundant diversity. Each week, a different ethnicity has had a night to call their own in the CSU’s spacious ballroom. Last night, it was the Native American’s turn to celebrate their greatness, which they did in a very fun and classy way. 

Over the course of the night, guests were treated to a lovely dinner, a heartwarming vocal performance by a talented group named Sisters in Song, and an educational display of common phrases in different Native American languages. 

To open the night Dr. Henry Morris, the Dean of Institutional Diversity, and Dr. Richard Davenport, the President of our university, welcomed everyone to the event. After this quick introduction, guests were led in prayer by an elder of the Dakota tribe in Mankato that blessed the food and, more importantly, the night ahead. 

The delightful dinner was ushered out soon after, and consisted of fried chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and green beans followed by a chocolate cake which was quickly devoured by the hungry audience. Once the plates were cleared, the travelling singing group Sisters in Song was slated to perform.

As they approached the stage, some murmuring started amongst the crowd due to the lack of, well, sisters. Only one was able to make the trip, due to weather and travelling conditions, but thankfully she was accompanied by the groups MC, who promised to make the show worthwhile after his first jokes left the crowd in stitches.

The songs performed were all written by the artists themselves, who had mixed English and Native languages in an extremely innovative and entertaining way. After they finished up their set, they told the audience it was their turn to perform, leading a long line dance that admittedly started off a little awkward, but ended with immense joy and laughter.

To close out the night, students from different Native classes led the guests in an educational experience where they were taught common phrases like “Hello” and “My Name Is” in different dialects such as Ojibwe and Diné. These phrases are most likely going to be forgotten pretty quickly by me, but it was a fun community moment nonetheless.

After the event ended, I asked the performers what they thought of the whole event, and I think they summed up the night much better than I ever could.

“As a Native myself, I personally appreciate things like this a whole lot. Seeing us and other Native people being honored and celebrated really shows how much the country is starting to shift its views on us. We are no longer caricatures or Halloween costumes, but valued members. So yeah, I guess it is just really nice to see things are starting to change.”

Feature photo by Jeremiah Ayodele | MSU Reporter.

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