USU Eastern Blanding Students Perform at 71st Navajo Nation Fair
Monday, Oct. 23, 2017
Utah State University Eastern Blanding’s Cultural Ambassador Performance Program performed for thousands of visitors at the Navajo Nation’s 71st annual Window Rock Fair. The students in the Cultural Ambassador Performance Program (CAPP) performed cultural dance programs for the fair’s parade, and during the Miss Navajo Nation coronation evening program.
The annual fair, held in Window Rock, Arizona, brings large crowds to the town to participate in many events, including a parade, rodeo, traditional pow-wow and more. The main event on Saturday evening during the fair was the coronation of Miss Navajo Nation 2017-2018. Blanding’s CAPP students performed during the coronation event at the invitation of the fair.
As the crowd gathered in the fair’s main arena to view the evening’s events a light rain began to fall, but the performances and program continued despite the weather. The evening event included performances by other Native American dancers and singers of various tribes from around the country, and was hosted by popular Navajo comedians James and Ernie. The CAPP students represented the only school group to participate in the evening’s ceremonies. During the event the students performed a Native American hoop dance and a Lilo and Stitch hula dance.
“It was a huge privilege to be invited to perform at the event, and it shows the impact our students are making in their communities.” said Clinton Behunin, faculty advisor to the CAPP students. “It was significant to the students personally, and it also allowed us to show the involvement the Blanding campus has with the Native American communities in our region”
The CAPP program has been an important part of the Blanding campus for the past 6 years, and serves as a community and student outreach program for the campus. Originally formed to teach and perform dances from Native American cultures, the CAPP program has since branched out to also include dances from other cultures represented on our campus, such as Polynesian, Latin American and Filipino. All of the dances the group performs are student-taught by members of the program from their individual cultures.
"It was an honor and a great opportunity for the CAPP students to show what we do and the multi-cultural diversity within our group who go to school on our campus,” said Christian Secody, CAPP student and co-president of the club.
USU Eastern’s Blanding campus sits near the edges of the Navajo Nation Reservation in southeastern Utah, and the student body is nearly 70 percent Native American. The majority are Navajo, but other groups including Hopi, Ute and Apache are also represented.
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