Nation's Pride

Assistant professor Browning Neddeau is a member of Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

CSU Monterey Bay’s second annual Native American Gathering comprises a powwow, traditional dancing, a film, a play reading, drum groups, craft-making workshops and vendors selling fry bread and Indian tacos.

It’s organized by Native American Students United (NASU) and the Native Advisory Council (NAC), and participants come from the Kiowa, Lakota, Ute, Yaqui, Cherokee and Choctaw tribes, and the Tule River Native Veterans Post 1987. This participation engenders a true experience of Native American culture.

It’s not just spectacle. There are rules. Dogs are not permitted in the dance circle because they are not allowed near eagle feathers. It is courteous to ask permission before taking a picture of a participant in dance regalia.

Browning Neddeau, an organizer, adds, “We are deeply committed to respecting the seven generations before and after our time. As we are on the land of the Ohlone/Costanoan-Esselen Nation, we have been working with the tribe.”

A reading of the play IYA, a story about that tribe, opens the day’s events at 10am. The rules are worth navigating. They protect the sanctity of all the good stuff at The Gathering, which makes for a richer – and realer – experience.

Walter Ryce has been an arts writer, calendar editor, culture columnist, sometime photographer, and one-time web content coordinator for the Monterey County Weekly. He began working at the paper, which is based in his hometown of Seaside, in 2007.

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