by Whitney Turner–
Native at Virginia Tech, the American Indian and Indigenous community organization on campus, hosted its first powwow April 1.
Students and community members gathered on the lawn of the Graduate Life Center to watch local tribes share their history and culture. The event featured Native American singing, dancing and drumming. As well as vendors selling Native arts and crafts, jewelry and other handmade items.
As an organization with only 21 members, Native’s powwow was significant in calling attention to their community and presence on campus.
The Collegiate Times recently reported that Virginia Tech’s incoming class of 2021 is historically diverse. Chrissy Shammas, Native at Virginia Tech member, hopes that an increase in diversity will strengthen the university’s sense of community.
“I know there are a lot of people who don’t come from as diverse backgrounds and I think it’s important to educate them on other people’s histories and other people’s cultures because that creates an environment of understanding and respect for each other,” said Shammas. “So I’m hoping with a more diverse student population we can have kind of more education.”
Native was recently gifted a room in Squires Student Center to serve as the American Indian and Indigenous Community Center on campus. With their own space, they are looking forward to growing as an organization and programming more cultural events.
“We’re definitely already thinking about the next powwow next spring,” said Shammas. “And we’ll hopefully be bringing more speakers and more tribal council meetings to the university.”
As Virginia Tech steadily expands, diversity and cultural understanding will only continue to grow.