Chadron State College has showcased the Native American culture in two recent events to celebrate Native American Month in November.
The Mari Sandoz Heritage Center’s Native American Month display is still available for viewing and will remain open through Dec. 14, according to Laure Sinn. The display features several Star Quilts, many on loan from Roxy Puchner, and other Native American items such as moccasins and a small purse, on loan from Robin Bila.
Star Quilts are an important part of Lakota culture, as the star pattern is reminiscent of the morning star, a key symbol in Lakota life. Star Quilts are used in sacred ceremonies and at weddings, births and funerals. Their presentation shows respect, honor and admiration of the recipient. According to information provided with the center’s display, Native American women learned to quilt from the wives of government officials stationed on reservations, from missionaries and at board school. The quilts became a necessity after men were no longer allowed to leave the reservation to hunt, meaning the women had no animal hides to turn in to robes and blankets.
Also on display are two photos of Red Cloud discovered recently in the Ray and Faye Graves collection. The photos not only serve as a tribute to the Native American tribes but as a preview of another show the center has planned for early 2019, when it will showcase several of the Graves photos.
The college also hosted 51 dancers and eight drum groups comprised of 42 singers during the Mari Sandoz Wacipi in mid-November. The campus Native American Club sponsored the program, which it has done since 2015, though it was renamed as the Sandoz Wacipi just this year.
“The Sandoz Society has been the main sponsor since 2017, and the club looks forward to continuing to expand the Wacipi and building relationships with dancers from the region,” club sponsor Dr. Dave Nesheim said in a release from CSC about the event.
Roughly half of this year’s dancers were teenagers or younger. The Native American Club is planning a trip to Denver, Colo., in 2019 for the Denver Powwow to gain important knowledge to improve the local event.
Community members are welcome to join the Native American Club. To learn more, contact Nesheim at firstname.lastname@example.org.