When people hear the word Native they automatically think Indian. Why is that? Well historically it has become synonymous with Indians as far back as anyone can remember.
Native American culture has, for the most part, been underrepresented. Culture plays a big part in who we are as people. It molds us and influences us into the person we will become. Campus life is no different. More importantly, clubs on campus let us join and express ourselves with others that feel the same.
What happens though when that club doesn’t exist and the people that you could’ve bonded with over similarities never got the chance to meet.
Victor Valley College is home to various types of nationalities and cultures. One of which, that gets consistently overlooked, is the Native American community.
Native American culture is one of the oldest forms of culture in this country. Long before Columbus discovered the Americas and The Colonies inhabited the lands, Native Americans have always been here. So why isn’t there more recognition of their culture.
The same could be said about the Native American culture here on the Victor Valley campus. Sure there is the Native American Student Council (NASC), but that hasn’t been fully active in nearly 10 years with it being non active the past three years.
There are many reasons to why this club isn’t active, one of which is the lack of participation on the students part.
“The reason it’s absent now is because students aren’t wanting to pick up the ball,” said Pamela James, who has been working at Victor Valley College for nearly 22 years as a counselor and the Senior Advisor of the NASC.
Being a student I can understand the schedule difficulties that plague the semester or even the year, but a club not being active for three years says a lot about the lack of involvement or better yet awareness it gets.
Native culture has given so much. Like what you may ask? Well Benjamin Franklin said that the idea of the federal government, in which certain powers are given to a central government and all other powers are reserved for the states, was borrowed from the system of government used by the Iroquoian League of Nations.
They also contributed food, yes food. In fact 60% of the world’s food supply comes from the American Indians’ ways of agriculture, primarily consisting of corn and potatoes, but not limited to avocados, tomatoes, cranberries, pumpkins, chocolates, peanuts, chewing gum and turkeys amongst other things.
That’s just what the native culture can offer to society, but for their own heritage and culture they have gatherings called Pow Wows. What is a Pow Wow you may ask? Well according to PowWow.com, which is a Native American site, Pow Wows are the Native American people’s way of meeting together, to join in dancing, singing, visiting, renewing old friendships, and making new ones.
If this sounds interesting to you I highly recommend you check it out and experience a different kind of culture. To know where to find one coming up or the closest to you visit PowWow.com for more info.
These are the kind of things that the NASC brings to VVC. The NASC’s mission is not to impose their culture on you but to share it for those that are willing to experience it.
In fact their mission statement is to educate the Victor Valley College community in the history, culture, and philosophy of Native American traditions.
November is just a few short weeks away and is Native American heritage month. I would recommend, even if you are not Native American, to go out and experience the culture that has given a lot and gained so little. Or if you feel passionate about restarting the NASC or just want to be apart of it then all you need to do is contact Pamela James at Pamela.James@vvc.edu or go see her in person at the counselors office in building 55.