Friday night in the Field House, Mines celebrated its 3rd annual David Nelson Friendship Powwow. The event, hosted by the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES), showcased Native American culture with food, dance and fun. The event arose as a tribute to David Nelson, a former CSM student and active AISES member, in hope that his spirit may be honored through the energy of the night.
The event began with a sampling of free traditional food including Navajo tacos, and flat bread. Ben Michaud, a freshman at Mines, commented on the food saying, “I have never had flatbread before and it’s quite the experience-a good one.” Another student, Emily Nicholas, agreed saying, “The food is amazing.” But aside from the draw of free food, student came to enjoy the culture of the night.
After the food the event continued with a few opening remarks and the grand entry. The grand entry was truly representative of the prestigious culture and tradition on display. Two Native American veterans lead the march, proudly holding the American and Colorado Flags, while men, women and children in tradition attire followed behind. The music and drum beats of the Mile High singers, in sync with the ankle bells of the dancers, kept the tempo of the march. When the entrance was complete, AISES President, Jean-Jose Sopngwi, thanked the audience for coming and the showcase of Native American culture continued.
A variety of beautifully performed traditional dances, such as the potato dance and the friendship dance, filled the evening. The authentic costumes of the performers were as elaborate as the dances they performed; ornate collections of feathers and intricately woven fabrics made for a spectacular display.
Although the powwow was inside the Field House gymnasium, the lively dancers and native artifacts created the spirited atmosphere. From the table displays of traditional Native American jewelry and headdress, to the circular arrangement of the audience, the setting was indeed reminiscent of a powwow. Also included in the night’s events was a prize raffle. A raffle ticket cost one can of food and all donations went to the Denver Indian Center Food Bank.
The memory of David Nelson was truly honored through the fun and energy of the night. A thanks goes out to AISES for letting Mines experience the rich traditions of Native American culture.