Drummers and dancers donning their Native American dress prayed and entertained Clovis Community College students and staff Nov. 16 in front of the cafe on campus.
Native Americans from a variety of tribes gathered for the college’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month to share their culture.
The American Indian Veterans Association of Fresno presented the colors at the event. The inter-tribal organization provides scholarships to college students and provides color guard services for funerals and other events up and down the state, said incoming president Robert M. Vasquez.
“Our goal is to help veterans; it doesn’t matter what race, creed or color they are,” said the Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force.
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A group of about a dozen Native Americans from different tribes gathered in a circle around a drum to pray.
“We’re giving thanks for being here today and allowing us to use the drum in this way,” said prayer leader Delaine Bill. “We don’t practice this together; everyone just showed up to help me drum today.”
The prayer drum travels throughout the nation, Bill said.
“This drum is the circle of life; it’s the people, the songs and prayers,” he said. “We’re just paying respect to the drum with tobacco, sage and our spirit.”
A group of dancers from the Mono tribe in North Fork performed, while California Indian Manpower Consortium and Native American Outreach Office at Fresno State provided literature and demonstrations at the event.