NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Stephen F. Austin State University celebrated Native American Heritage Month with a visual show from descendants of the earliest settlers of America.
The Great Promise for American Indians put on a show of heritage and cultural significance for a crowd of SFA students, faculty, and young student guests. The Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted the event.
The pounding of a steady beat on authentic American tribal drums echoed through the student center building.
Native American Heritage Month is the troupe’s busiest time of year.
“We’re very busy in the month of November. I think we are dancing almost every day this month,” said program director Nan Blassingame.
Members of different tribes share their native dance and provide close up views of colorful, intricate regalia. Along the way, they try to clear up misconceptions about Native Americans.
“Misconceptions is they think that we do not exist anymore," said Blassingame. "That what they see in museums is what is left of Native Americans. They don’t understand that we are here with everyone else in regular clothing.”
Including the clothing that Blassingame designs. She just returned from New York City, the only Native American showcased at a recent runway show. This week her dresses are at a Hollywood design show. Despite the sudden fame, this Arapaho/Cheyenne is most at home with other native Americans she’s come to know in the Austin area.
“We have some from Standing Rock that are in Austin. We have some from Hawaii. Some from Puerto Rico. We all live there. We all get together,” shared Blassingame.
Dave Bullock performs the popular Men’s Fancy Dance, a pow wow favorite. His day job is leading youth to a better tomorrow on the Alabama Coushatta Indian Reservation.
“That’s what I do is I try to inspire young kids to go to college and let them know it’s fun and the learning experience is fun,” said Bullock who wore a colorful mask that covered his eyes.
Yet, college attendance is low by Native Americans. Their future lies in service. Native Americans are the largest group to enter military service, so Thursday these dancers will say thank you with a performance at Ft. Hood.