CC’s Native American Student Union (NASU) recently erected a huge tipi on Cutler Quad in honor of National American Indian Heritage Month. By doing so, the group also hopes to raise the profile of the student organization on campus, said sophomore Carl Slater, who, along with senior Amber Dornbusch, co-chairs NASU.
The Arapahoe-style tipi, which featured 27-foot tall lodge pole pines and measured 18 feet in diameter, was in place Nov. 17 through Nov. 24. The selection of an Arapahoe tipi was intentional, Slater said, as Arapahoe Indians frequented the area. “We wanted to make people aware that long before CC existed, there were tipis here,” he said.
The tipi was in use throughout the week – many students stopped by to visit or to read the informational sign posted in front. At least one student camped in the tipi overnight. Others played music in it. A s’more fest was held over the weekend, and a steady stream of students dropped in for s’mores, which were made over a small brazier in the center of the tipi.
“It was a great event. It enabled the members of NASU to share with non-native students the pride they have in their culture,” said Suzi Nishida, an advisor to the group.
At the closing ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 23, Slater spoke, Joseph Grimely ’13 from Cochiti Pueblo in the Navajo Nation led the group in a closing prayer, and Guojun Lee ’14 and Saraiya Ruano ’13 played Native American flutes.
The tipi is new this year, and was made possible by a cooperative effort across campus. “It really brought staff and students together,” Nishida said. Contributors included the carpentry, purchasing, and grounds departments in facilities services; the chaplains’ office; NASU, campus activities, student minority life, the IDEA Space, and the McHugh family. Dan Crossey and Cecelia Gonzales, both of facilities services, were instrumental in getting the tipi up, Nishida said.
Native American Student Union was established as the Native American Student Association at in 1960 and celebrates Native American peoples and cultures.