Native American Awarness Week Concludes Today

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The 31st annual Native American Awareness Week at the U wraps up tonight with the 2003-2004 Ms. Indian Pageant in the Behavioral Science Building Auditorium at 6:00 p.m.

The weeklong celebration kicked off last weekend with a pow-wow held in the Union ballroom.

Stephanie Benally, the current Ms. Indian University of Utah, says Native American Awareness Week encompasses tribes from all corners of the state and across the country.

Benally said the purpose of the week is to promote awareness and understanding among the various Native American tribes throughout the state.

“The purpose of this whole thing is to breed awareness in the community,” Benally said.

“We make sure to try and get the word out, and as far as I know, we always get a great variety of tribes in attendance at our pow-wows,” Benally said.

As Ms. Indian University of Utah, Benally said she acts as an ambassador between the U’s Native American students and administrators and faculty.

“I represent the Native American students at the U, and I take it as a respectful, high position in which I try to act accordingly,” she said.

Though Native American Awareness Weeks are held at Weber State University and Brigham Young University, Benally says the U’s Inter-Tribal Student Association is still a secret at the U.

“I don’t think too many people are aware of our organization on campus. I think there needs to be more awareness not just by Native American students, but by all et0hnic clubs on campus,” she said.

In addition to the pow-wow, vendors have set up in the Union all week to sell jewelry, clothing and other goods.

The offices of the Inter-Tribal Student Association are located in Union 318.