Published on Apr 7, 2015
American Indian Week has been a tradition on the New Mexico State University Campus since the 1970’s. It shows the influence of the American Indian Culture on the campus and in the New Mexico.
Almost 640 American Indian Students attend NMSU, and American Indian program director Justin McHorse says this week helps them bring their culture to campus.
“American Indian Week is a product of students, American Indian Program Staff, and other American Indian tribal members on campus,” McHorse said. “Wanting to bring that culture to campus, wanting to bring that sense of community down here that American Indians are welcome here at NMSU, and they add to the diversity of learning in the classroom, and outside of the classroom.
He says the weeklong event helps the American Indian students feel at home, and allows them to connect with the community.
“In making the transition down to campus from tribal communities,” McHorse said. “The students look for a way to connect their culture from their communities to campus, and also help educate the greater NMSU community on American Indian people and American Indian lifestyles. So, American Indian Week is an opportunity to share various elements of American Indian culture in New Mexico here on campus with our students, faculty, staff, and community.”
McHorse says that there are many influences from American Indian culture in the culture of New Mexico.
“American Indian Culture is significant here in the state of New Mexico,” McHorse said. “As American Indian people, indigenous people have been on this land since time memorial. The culture has been ingrained in New Mexico lifestyles. And so it’s been here, and it’s still thriving today.”
Although this week is meant to help educate the community, McHorse says that is something they try to do all year round.
“We’ve created an app for the iPad called ‘how well do you know New Mexico,” McHorse said. “And on that people can learn where the various pueblos, tribes, and nations are located in New Mexico, as well as certain elements of what their community is known for.”
The event concludes with Dance performances, pottery demonstrations, and an Arts and Crafts expo this Friday at the University Museum at Kent Hall.