Native American Heritage Month has the spotlight at the Maricopa Campus!

Socorro Carrillo, Cactus Staff Writer

On November 18th, 2014 CAC culinary students hosted a celebration in honor of Native American Heritage Month. The celebration was hosted for two hours in the Maricopa Campus Amphitheatre and featured live music, crafts, dancers, and Native American culinary delights hand made by the culinary students.

The event was created by a new CAC face; Chef Yazzie. Chef Yazzie organized everything from the spectacular Yellowhouse Dancers to the food being served.

Before the event kicked off visitors explored Native American culture through food and crafts. Culinary students made refreshments that were representative of traditional Native American Food; a main feature was Pita bread. The students also worked hard creating five cakes that featured motifs of several prominent Arizona tribes. For example, the Ak-Chin themed cake had an intricate black and white design with a red circular design in the middle. While the Navajo themed cake had elements of basket weaving and the important Navajo symbol of turquoise. All cakes were edible and featured the handiwork of culinary Student Millard Heath. Heath’s classmate Amber Owens commented on Heath’s work saying, “Millard literally looked at a piece a paper and began drawing.”

While some were admiring the work of the students, others were admiring the work of traditional weaving that was taking place on the other side. Guests of the Yellowhouse dancers displayed their handiwork and showed the diligent process of cleaning reeds for basket weaving. Also present was Frank Johnson of Az. Rhythm Connections, Johnson facilitated a drum circle to help set the mood of the event.

The event started with traditional songs performed by Little Grizzly Bear Cub, a guest of the Yellowhouse dancers. The songs were filled with moving rhythms and the beautiful Hopi language. The guest artist mentioned that almost all Native American traditional songs are meant to mimic one’s heartbeat.

The event finished with a performance from the Yellowhouse dancers. The group has performed many times and their professionalism and talent shone through. Many in attendance were speechless from the beauty of the group’s costumes.  Each costume was designed with traditional elements such as feathers and vivid colors.

Event’s such as this, help highlight CAC’s diverse cultural landscape. Those who were in attendance not only enjoyed delicious food and wonderful music but also gained a better perspective of Native American Culture.  In his closing statement, Little Grizzly Bear Cub told the crowd, “We have to celebrate all types of culture, holding events like this inspire and promote the good sides of diversity. Kwakwhay! (Hopi for thank you)”  Kwakwhay indeed!} else {