NMSU branding

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

Intertribal gathering to revive Native American culture in southern New Mexico

New Mexico State University is partnering with the community to revive Native American culture and history in southern New Mexico by supporting the Rio Grande Intertribal Gathering "Honoring Veterans of All Nations" Nov. 11 and 12 at the Fort Selden State Monument in Radium Springs.

munity is invited to attend the two-day intertribal gathering, where performers from Southwestern, Plains Indian and Mexican tribes will celebrate Veterans' Day with traditional songs, prayers and dances. Native American children, young adults and NMSU students also will participate.

"This gathering is for veterans everywhere, no matter what nation they belong to," said John Yazzie, a member of the gathering organizational committee and the Navajo Nation. "This is just one more way to show what a diverse community we have."

The educational gathering will include Native American arts and crafts and local Native American history presentations. Dances will be explained to the audience, giving the community an opportunity to experience the Native American culture.

Yazzie and fellow committee member Matthew Runsabove worked with NMSU's American Indian Program Director Don Pepion to organize the gathering.

"The university has a lot to do with the birth of our ideas - they helped us get started," Runsabove said.

Pepion, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, had introduced the concept of an intertribal gathering to bring Native American students at NMSU closer with the community, and the idea was taken further when Fort Selden park rangers suggested tribal dances at the monument to celebrate Veterans' Day.

Runsabove, a member of the Lakota tribe, said he hopes the gathering will unite the Las Cruces area with its Native American community and promote awareness and understanding of the importance of Native American culture in New Mexico.

Sponsors of the gathering include NMSU, the Dona Ana Arts Council, Rural and Economic Development through Tourism, the Radium Hot Springs Inn and participating tribes. Admission to Fort Selden is $3. The event committee also is encouraging donations that will be used to provide dancers, drum groups and other performers with lodging, meals and travel expenses.

Tribal dances are traditionally held in an open field, and guests who need seating are encouraged to bring their own. For more information contact John Yazzie at (505) 541-1760 or Matt Runsabove at (505) 373-0185.