The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Native Americans demonstrate culture on SE

By Jamil Oakford/se news editor

The sound of steady drums filled SE Campus’ Main Commons Nov. 20 as a tepee was erected.

Student activities organized an event to celebrate Native American Heritage Month by inviting several Native Americans from around the Metroplex to share their experiences through handmade items and several dances.

“This is my living room,” representative of her Native American husband Tomazane Tonipa said.

Tonipa explained many of the main artifacts that were laid out. Her husband handmade several of the items or was gifted a handmade item from his family.

A Native American performs cultural dances, and others discussed powwows, tools and the roles of men and women Nov. 20 on SE. Photos by Linah Mohammad/The Collegian
A Native American performs cultural dances, and others discussed powwows, tools and the roles of men and women Nov. 20 on SE. Photos by Linah Mohammad/The Collegian

Among the artifacts students could touch and pick up were handmade bows and arrows, pipes and clothing.

Tonipa also explained the difference between men’s and women’s dress in the Native American culture.

“Men would wear things to stand out,” she said. “Women were made to wear things that were more plain and helped them melt into the background.”

She went on to explain that this wasn’t a sign of disrespect as much as it was done out of protection.

This was followed by a dance demonstration, where a Native American traditional dancer in full regalia gave three separate performances during the day.

“Tepees are built by women, and they can do it in 30 minutes,” Saulk and Fox tribe member Emmitt Brown said.

Brown spoke on different Native American topics such as local powwows, communal values and the importance of understanding that everything they had was handmade.

“This was really inclusive,” SE student Yvonne Nguyen said. “It gave a lot of details about Native American culture.”

SE student Dylan Terry agreed wholeheartedly, having joined in for the round dance.

“It was very insightful, and I’ve seen these dances before. And every time I see them, I think it’s beautiful to see them,” Terry said.

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