Halloween was not the only celebration that got off to a premature start Thursday night. Two nights ago, about forty students gathered in the John Jay Lounge to celebrate the start of Native American Heritage Month.
Although a diverse mix of Native American, white, black and Latino students made up the audience, an interest in the traditional and contemporary Native American culture characterized all in attendance. But as NAHM chair, Maxine Paul, CC ’09, was quick to mention, an interest in Native American culture is entirely different than actually understanding the Native American experience. Last night’s events aimed not just to commemorate the trials, travails, and triumphs of American Indians, but also to educate the audience on contemporary Native American customs and the tension between cultural assimilation and cultural autonomy.