News

UM welcomes Native American community

Last Tuesday, the UC patio was center stage for Native American Day. The University hosted guests, including high school students, from tribes all over the country to spend a day on campus. The cultural show was marked by colorful, traditional costumes, music and storytelling.

UM President Donna Shalala opened the program. She welcomed the Native American community to campus and encouraged the visiting students to finish high school and consider applying to UM.

One of the guest students on campus was JoJo Dakota Osceola, 17, from Davie, Fla. Chosen as Miss Seminole 2004-2005, her role is to travel around the country and make people aware of Native American culture, especially of the Seminole tribe.

“It’s amazing that the University took an interest in this,” Osceola said. “Ignorance hurts, and it’s important to make people aware of the culture.”

The Red Feather Dance Company told stories through Native American dances. The show also included a presentation by Storyteller, as well as an open mic poetry event.

Table stands with Native American handcrafts, ceramics and hand-made jewelry adorned the patio.

Mario Matus Villa, a UM graduate student in creative writing who is of Apache descent, displayed Navajo crafts from the Lowe Art Museum Teaching Collection.

“We are hoping to spark people’s interest in the culture,” Matus Villa said. “It’s sad that we do not have a Native American student association, considering the Miccosukee base here.”

Guests were treated to a campus tour, a visit to the Lowe Art Museum and an optional tour of Hecht Athletic Center to watch a Hurricane football practice.

“It’s a very nice and real experience,” Victoria Hernandez, a student from Ahfachkee High School, said. “There are not a lot of colleges that reach out to us. I really want to come here.”

The Native American Cultural Show is part of the effort by the University to recruit more Native American students. Currently there is no Native American student association, and only 16 Native American students are officially enrolled at UM.

“Native American students are the minority of the minority,” Nikki Chun, admission counselor at the Office of Admissions, said. “Hopefully the cultural show will encourage the students to create an association of Native American students, since there isn’t one.”

According to Chun, the staff at the Office of Admissions recruits students of all ethnicities, but they reach out to those communities whose students may not look past high school.

“We are recruiters – we reach out to communities,” Chun said. “The University reached out to native Hawaiian students in the past, which is one of the reasons I am here. We are trying to model this after that effort.”

The staff works with high school students to help them with the application and essay-writing process. They’ve also reached out to Native American high schools to give students an opportunity to explore the facilities on campus and majors that the school has to offer.

“I greatly encourage this school to continue trying to reach out and encourage Native American students,” Johann Lewis, freshman, said. “It’s hard for any race to feel uncomfortable when there is a good mix of people from different ethnicities.”

Vanessa Krause can be contacted at v.krause@umiami.edu.

November 19, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Eleven football seasons ago, after the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers met at the Orange Bowl for ...

University of Miami fans no doubt are loving the Hurricanes’ two newest tight ends. What they’re pro ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Thursday: ▪ Though UM wasn’t called for a single penalty against ...

Two of the best athletes and a freshman quarterback on the No. 21 University of Miami football team ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ The Miami Hurricanes are honoring their 1983 nation ...

UM students, faculty and staff commemorated the five-year anniversary of the Donna E. Shalala Studen ...

Miami’s Turnover Chain inspires copycats, but the U’s turnover prop has a ‘cool factor.’ ...

NASPA names UM as a Lead Advisory Institution for the seventh year in a row. ...

The trailer for a documentary exploring the relationships between UM students and Holocaust survivor ...

New technology could help workplaces and schools identify violent intruders before they enter the do ...

The Miami Hurricanes volleyball program won its third straight match in 3-0 fashion on Friday night ...

Estela Perez-Somarriba of the Miami women's tennis team registered two straight-set wins Friday ...

It's been over a decade since they last met, but Miami and FIU are set to renew their crosstown ...

The University of Miami cross country team gears up to compete in its third meet of the season this ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a five-year contract extensio ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.