One of the great things about being on a college campus is you can meet many people from different walks of life. Diversity enrichment can enhance a student overall, so instead of brushing off the opportunity, why not join a student organization that fulfills that need?
“We try to promote a sense of identity and pride for our native students as well as a strong connection to the local native community,” said Jasmine Culp, president of the Native American Student Organization.
NASO has about 10-15 members and has been established at Eastern Michigan University for quite some time. In addition to its student involvement, it also carries support from faculty staff on campus and also the local native community.
Culp, a junior at EMU, also discusses the many diverse activities the NASO provides that will help other students understand and support Native American languages and culture.
“Some examples of events include storytelling, hand drum workshops and beading
workshops,” Culp said.
The NASO along with the Center for Multicultural Affairs are teaming to put on a host of events for this month’s Native American Heritage Month. One of the many events they will host this month is a panel discussion entitled “Unmet Needs in Indian Country,” which will bring many local Native Americans to EMU on 6 p.m. on Nov. 17 in Student Center room 330.
The kickoff of the Native American Heritage Month is their biggest event, which is the Fall Feast. The event, which took place in the Student Center on Monday, Nov. 2, brought more than 60 people to EMU to partake in some tasty traditional Native American dishes, while listening to the sounds of Blue Lake, a traditional drumming band.
“The Fall Feast has been an annual tradition at Eastern for many years now; it is held to celebrate the harvest and as an event that brings the campus community together with the local Native community,” said Lori Burlingame, the adviser for the NASO.
Culp added they also like to address members of the community at the Feast.
“It is our way of recognizing that this is the time of year for harvesting foods and to recognize the accomplishments and progress reached throughout the year,” Culp said.
This year the honoree was EMU professor Dr. Kay McGowan. Her many accomplishments this year included an induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, and according to Burlingame, “She was being honored because of her tremendous work on behalf of indigenous people’s and women’s rights throughout the world.”
If you would like to join the NASO or learn more about the organization, Culp ensures the door is always open for thoughts and suggestions from new members.
“We are always happy to have new members interested in joining NASO,” she said, “and of course we would welcome them. It is very important for us to support native students and to also help anyone with a genuine interest in native language and culture.