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Traditional dancers, arts and crafts will highlight Native American Week

New Mexico State University's Native American Week, April 18-25, will feature traditional dance groups, a Native American Arts and Crafts Expo, the annual Miss Native American NMSU Pageant, and a variety of other activities.


events will be open to the public at no charge.

"The whole week is organized, implemented and sponsored by our Native American student organizations," said American Indian Program Director Donald Pepion. "It's a tradition that goes back more than 25 years."

Native American artists will be displaying and selling their original artwork, jewelry and crafts from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 19, on the first floor of Corbett Center Student Union. On Saturday, April 20, the Arts and Crafts Expo will move to the University Museum at Kent Hall, where the artists will display and sell their works from noon to 5 p.m.

Also at Kent Hall Saturday afternoon, traditional Native American dance groups from Acoma Pueblo, the Navajo Nation and the Plains region will perform from 1 to 4 p.m.

The dancing is always a highlight of the annual events, Pepion said.

"This is actually sharing traditional dances, as opposed to putting on what you might call a powwow, which is more of a Pan-Indian social gathering," he said. "We want to give the community a snapshot of traditional tribal ways."

Opening ceremonies for Native American Week, scheduled for noon Thursday, April 18, outside Corbett Center Student Union, will feature the traditional throwing of small gifts and ceremonial breaking of a bowl of water, in addition to remarks by Pepion and officers of the Native American student organizations -- the United Native American Organization, the Native American Business Students Association and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Peter MacDonald, former president of the Navajo Nation and a Navajo Code Talker, will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the Corbett Center Auditorium.

A basketball tournament featuring teams from across the state -- 20 men's teams and 12 women's teams -- will begin Friday, April 19, at 5 p.m. and continue through Sunday, with all games to be played in the Activity Center.

An American Indian Studies Forum is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, April 19, in the Corbett Center Auditorium. A panel of four American Indian scholars -- Joseph "Jay" Stauss, director of the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona; Charles "Bo" Colbert, academic associate with the American Indian Studies Program at Arizona State University; Jennifer R. Denetdale, assistant professor of humanities at Northern Arizona University; and Lee Francis, a Native American Studies professor at the University of New Mexico -- will discuss the value of a degree in Native American Studies.

The Miss Native American NMSU Pageant, an event Pepion said has grown in popularity in recent years, will cap off the week. The pageant, scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 25, in the Corbett Center Auditorium, will feature entertainment by the Nawitsa Dance Group from Zuni Pueblo.

For more information about Native American Week, call the American Indian Program office at (505) 646-4207.

Following is a complete schedule of the week's activities.

New Mexico State University
Native American Week activities

Thursday, April 18
Noon: Opening Ceremonies, Corbett Center Student Union. Traditional "Throw" and remarks by Donald Pepion, director of the American Indian Program, and officers of American Indian student organizations.
7 p.m.: Speaker, Peter MacDonald, former president of the Navajo Nation, Corbett Center Auditorium.

Friday, April 19
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Native American Arts and Crafts Expo, first floor, Corbett Center.
5 p.m.: AISES Basketball Tournament starts, Activity Center.
7 p.m.: American Indian Studies Forum at Corbett Center Auditorium. Four Native American scholars in a panel discussion on the value of a degree in Native American Studies.

Saturday, April 20
8 a.m.: Basketball tournament continues, Activity Center.
Noon to 5 p.m.: Native American Arts and Crafts Expo, University Museum at Kent Hall.
1 to 4 p.m.: Traditional Native American dance groups, University Museum at Kent Hall.

Sunday, April 21
8 a.m.: Basketball tournament continues, Activity Center.
1 p.m.: Barbecue at Preciado Park, including fry bread making contest.

Monday, April 22
7 p.m.: Movie, "Grand Avenue," about the struggles of a single mother who moves with her children from the reservation to Los Angeles, Corbett Center Auditorium.

Tuesday, April 23
7 p.m.: Talent Show, "Sharing the Gift," Room 153 of the new Chemistry and Biochemistry Building.

Wednesday, April 24
7 p.m.: Student Awards Reception featuring journalist Conroy Chino of Acoma as guest speaker, The Club, Corbett Center.

Thursday, April 25
7 to 10 p.m.: Miss Native American NMSU Pageant, Corbett Center Auditorium, featuring entertainment by Nawitsa Dance Group of Zuni.

Karl Hill
April 5, 2002