By Kelly Canright
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Native American Cultural Awareness Week began bright and early yesterday with a "Sunrise Blessing" at 6:30 a.m. on the UA Mall.
"Native American Culture Awareness Week started six years ago. The purpose is to recognize the major contributions the Indian people have made to this country, to this state, and to this university," said Debi Nalwood, assistant dean of University of Arizona Native American Student Affairs and member of the Navajo Nation.
"I think the week will provide an awareness and recognize the contributions our students and our people have made. We have some very creative talents; to educate people, to appreciate people we need to appreciate where we come from," Nalwood said. "Wherever people interact with us in lecture, in lab or in line at the Student Union, they need to understand and appreciate who we are."
Today, the White Mountain Apache Crown Dancers will be on the University of Arizona Mall from noon to 1 p.m. An elder from White River will come out and perform the only traditional dance that will take place during the week.
Other events scheduled this week follow.
¨ "Sacred Sites," a cultural forum scheduled today at 7 p.m., will focus on current tribal issues. Nalwood said the forum's discussion would not focus on the Mt. Graham telescope issue.
¨Students will sell arts, crafts, jewelry and fry bread Thursday on the mall. The contemporary Native American Band "Natural High" will play rhythm and blues and rock music.
¨Poetry and passages from the second edition of the publication Red Ink will be given by Cedric Woods of the Lumbee tribe.
¨On Friday, the Arts and Crafts Fair and the fry bread sale will continue. From noon to 1 p.m. the Tribal People United Performance will take place on the Mall. Students will wear their traditional dress and partake in a friendship dance and include the audience.
¨ A "Closing Blessing" will take place at 5 p.m. Friday. A "Traditional Feast" will be accompanied by the Catalina Mountain Singers and the Native American Drum Group at the American Indian Graduate Center. The Tribal People United "Wildcat Benefit Powwow" will follow on the UA Mall.
Several exhibitions which feature Native American art and anthropological finds will accompany the week's events.
A Native American Standing Case Exhibition on the third floor of the Main Library will display cultural artifacts and other materials collected by the Native American Resource Center and Tribal People United.
The Center for Creative Photography will show an exhibition titled "Selected Native American Images from the Southwestern Work of Marion Palfi."
In addition, the Arizona State Museum will show an exhibiton of 10 Native American groups titled "Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest."
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