Grant junior Molly Pocsi went to the Bovee University Rotunda Monday night looking forward to the dancing in particular.
“I thought it would be something that I would like,” Pocsi said, “I had never seen traditional native dances before.”
The smells of native foods hung in the air, along with drum beats and Native American chants, as traditional native dances performed as part of the fourth annual Native American Heritage Month Food Taster sponsored by the Office of Native American Programs.
Sault Saint Marie senior, student assistant at the Office of Native American Programs and member of the Hannahville Potawatomi Tribe, Kasey McCullough, said the purpose of the food taster is to provide some insight into the Native American culture and heritage.
As the more than 200 students and people from the community took their seat, they were given the insight into the culture that McCllough was speaking of. An informational slide show took patrons through the life and history of the Anishinabe culture. There were also cards laid out on each table for the attendees to quiz themselves and their comrades on Native American facts.
Once the festivities started, the MC for the night, visitor service representative for the Ziibiwing Center, Raymond Cadette, started out by greeting the audience with a greeting in his native language. He then translated the traditional greeting, “Hello, all my relatives, because no matter what color or ethnicity, we are all related.”
Cadette also went into detail about how Native Americans feast to honor something, be their creator, their ancestors or a newborn child. After a brief overview of the traditional foods offered: wild rice salad, chicken in a cranberry sauce, bean squash and turkey casserole, a corn green bean and squash medley, hominy grits, fried dough and pumpkin pancakes for dessert. Cadette said a native prayer to the creator and the feast began.
Once the food was all served and most of the attendees were back in their seats, Cadette introduced a group of native dancers to entertain and educate while the food was being eaten.
“The campus and the community can expect to eat delicious food, watch a phenomenal Native American dance demonstration, and learn more about our culture,” McCullough said before the event took place.
With a variety of food, wealth of information presented and options for the crowd to not only watch, but learn a bit of the traditional dancing, many students said they felt well-educated after leaving the UC.