On Saturday, March 17, the San Diego State American Indian Alumni Association hosted its Iipay Mateyum 41st Annual Pow Wow at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center.
The event was sponsored by the SDSU’s President’s Fund while the SDSU Native American Student Alliance tabled in support. Children as young as two years old were in attendance and were exposed to the university at an early age, called the Soaring Eagles.
Vice President of the American Indian Alumni Association, Jerry Martinez said the purpose of the powwow is to promote awareness of Native American heritage throughout the community and surrounding areas.
“It is important to enhance the Native American heritage in our campus,” Martinez said. “Presently we have an underrepresented presence of Native Americans on campus.”
During the ceremony, retired professor emerita Dr. Gwendalle Cooper was honored for her service to the community and for playing an integral role in inaugurating American Indian studies at SDSU.
SDSU’s Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Aaron Bruce said it is important to acknowledge those who have contributed to the community. He said it was great to see Cooper’s former students supporting her.
Bruce said becoming aware of what SDSU was before becoming a university is imperative.
“This campus is Kumeyaay land, the land of the original people,” Bruce said. “We must recognize the importance of history as we move forward.”