WTAMU celebrates Diversity Week

The sound of drums filled the air as Diversity Week began on Monday, Sept. 23.  Students gathered as members of Sacred Circle Amarillo celebrated the Fall equinox and performed a Native American drum circle. The group consisted of members with different ancestry, some even dating back to various Native American tribes.

“Some of us have Native American ancestry,” group leader Lori Mountain Starlight said. “We call ourselves mixed bloods. We come from different paths of wisdom ways.”

Mountain Starlight continued, “What’s cool about today, which is the actual equinox, is it’s a day of equal day and night. We like to gather on these days of the change of seasons because we have found that through celebrating and honoring the ceremonial ways that are near and dear to our heart, we align with nature, the great teacher.”

Lessons of unity, and comradery resonated across the lawn as the group pounded on drums and sang into the air.

Mountain Starlight spoke to the crowd, explaining the reasoning behind the drum circles and the stone medicine wheel.

“What has been harvested, so it can be you know, your garden, but it also can be what you’re harvesting in your life…It’s been used for thousands of years and ceremonial ways by our Native American ancestors,” Mountain Starlight said, “…so it’s a representation of unity and harmony and the interconnection between us and ever and all forms of life.”

Speaking of balance with nature and one’s self, Mountain Starlight explains:

“These are ways to think about it. And because the day and night are

equal, it’s about balance as well,” Mountain Starlight said. “Like, how balanced is your life? Or maybe how out of balance is your life? And where would you like to be in more balance, and better balance?”

Mountain Starlight continues, “…I think sometimes people feel disconnected from life and in from maybe spiritually, maybe emotionally, physically, spirit, you know, so these ways, we feel really

help help us feel connected to the greater home.”

Mountain Starlight then began to introduce the group of drummers. One of the other members, Charles Red Heart, explained the use of tobacco in Native American ceremonies:

“The tobacco represents the plant world, and it represents the smoke that carries our prayers and our dreams to the heavens, right?”

“Diversity Week is an opportunity for students to learn about the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. It’s also a chance to experience other cultures,” Administrative Assistant of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Amanda Rogers said.

Rogers continues, “The creation of Diversity Ambassadors has been a goal of Angela Allen’s for several years. We are happy that it has been formed this year and the students are dedicated to diversity,” Rogers said. “They will be the student face of the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, which we hope will increase our awareness and presence on campus.”

“We are always looking for ways to change or adapt to meet the needs and wants of the students, faculty, staff, and community,” said Rodgers.

With Diversity Week coming to an end, we look back on the events. We think of all of the different cultures, identities, and ways of life that make WTAMU the diverse university that it is today.

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