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Museum celebrates Native American culture

On November 15, 2012

The USU Museum of Anthropology held its first ever Student Night at the Museum on Wednesday.

Students were invited to listen to presentations, eat free food provided by the museum and learn about different cultures.

According to Museum Curator Elizabeth Sutton, this year the museum has been more community oriented than in the past. She said the night was started to include USU students and get them to start visiting the museum.

“Everybody’s welcome, but we tend to advertise more with just the community,” Sutton said. “We want to do more for students and encourage them, just to have a night where they can get some free food, take a break, come and learn something.”

The theme of Student Night was Navajo Culture. The Native American Student Council joined with the museum to give presentations to help those in attendance learn about the culture.

“We put out a general call to all of the diversity clubs if they would be wanting to do this,” Sutton said. “The Native American group was the one that kind of jumped on it right away and said, ‘Yes, we have this. We’d like to do this.’”

The event started with a presentation by Miss American Indian USU Lindsay June. She spoke on the responsibilities involved with her position and gave a presentation on Native American culture which included a performance of “Amazing Grace” in the Navajo language. June was followed by Gabrielle George, a member of the Native American Student Council, who performed a traditional Navajo dance known as “Jingle Dress.”

After the presentations, students took a tour of the Navajo exhibit, which featured different Navajo quilts. Part of the tour included a demonstration where the students learned how to weave with the Navajo looms.

“The whole exhibit is basically on the whole process of Navajo weaving,” Sutton said. “They raise their own sheep. They do the whole process. Navajo rugs are really, really big in the art market and are worth tons of money. The ones we have on loan here are worth thousands of dollars. It’s a fun exhibit to highlight. Our modern society values it because of the price we’ve assigned to it, but there’s a deeper story there.”12

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