Banquet celebrates history

Photo by Nicole Trujillo

The Eastern New Mexico University office of Native American Affairs held their annual Thanksgiving banquet and dessert potluck on Nov. 15 in the Campus Union Building Ballroom.

The month of November is Native American Heritage Month, and the banquet was the organization’s grand finale of all the event they had for the month.

The event’s theme this year was “Together We Weave as One.” The decorations featured handmade pieces like teepees and event programs. There were flags displayed that represented a few of the Native American tribes in New Mexico.

The event started with a brief introduction.

“Native American Heritage Month is a time to recognize each tribe and celebrate the history of us,” said Shayleen Bunny, master of ceremonies.

Following the introduction, a prayer was recited by Native American Affairs member Julian Cata.

After the prayer, guests had dinner, which featured old fashion barbeque shredded chicken, shredded smoked beef brisket, mash potatoes and gravy, squash medley, salad, cream corn, and a roll.

Entertainment for the event was provided by Clara Natonabah and guitarist Doug Bellen.

Diana Cordova, director of Multicultural Affairs, assisted ENMU President Jeff Elwell in the sashing of Native American graduates.

“Tonight, we are honoring and congratulating three graduates. All three graduates will be given a Native American sash, which they will wear at commencement,” Shyleen Bunny announced.

The graduates sashed at the event were Derrick Joe of the Navajo Tribe, Andres Labastida-Arviso of the Navajo Tribe, and Cheyenne Wagger of the Jicarilla Apache.

“ENMU has been a big part of my life. I’ve been here for over five years now. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for my advisor, Dr. Seifert,” said Labastida-Arviso.

The event ended by crowning the 2018-19 ENMU Miss Native. The 2018-19 ENMU Miss Native is Vivian Lueras of the Zuni Pueblo Tribe.

Lueras talent for the event was artistic rock painting. Lueras said she started painting rocks in middle school during an art class. A slideshow of the process was shown, and other rocks she had painted were on display.

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