Smith Event to Celebrate Indigenous American Culture
NORTHAMPTON, Mass.—As the federal government celebrates National American Indian Heritage Month this November, a group at Smith College called Indigenous Smith Students and Allies (ISSA) will commemorate what it calls Indigenous Month with a gala event featuring traditional Native American foods and performances.
The Indigenous Month Commemoration will take place on Friday, Nov. 19, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the ballroom of the college’s Davis Center on Prospect St. The event is open to the public for a $6 admission fee (children under ten and members of the Smith community are free with college identification), payable at the door. Donations to the ISSA will be welcome. The Davis Center is accessible to wheelchairs.
Featured foods will include Indian tacos; succotash, a traditional dish of corn and lima beans; Posole, a mixture of hominy, chilies, carrots, onions and spices; baked Indian pudding; roast deer meat and gravy; and many options for vegetarians.
The evening’s entertainment will consist of a performance by the Mystic River Singers, a Connecticut indigenous group that specializes in presenting pan-tribal songs through traditional drumming, dancing and singing.
Smith’s Indigenous Month Commemoration is intended to raise awareness of the ISSA and the college’s indigenous population. “This event will be an amazing opportunity for the indigenous students at Smith to celebrate and share their cultures with their community,” says Sascha Navarro, co-chair of the organization, who is coordinating the celebration. “ISSA wants to provide the college and surrounding community with an opportunity to gather together, enjoy wonderful entertainment and delicious foods while learning about an important culture.”
The ISSA, known until this year as Native American Women at Smith, revised its mission this year to become more inclusive and to welcome all people interested in spreading indigenous awareness, says Navarro. Many indigenous students come to Smith from reservations and can face difficulties adjusting to their new surroundings, she says. “Our mission is to help make the Smith community aware of the issues that indigenous students face and to create a strong support network for future indigenous students.”
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation’s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women’s college in the country.
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