The First Nations Club is designed to share Native American culture and traditions with students. No matter what their cultural background is, students are invited.
“It’s a Native American club, but you don’t have to be Native American to join,” said Arsenio Lopez III, First Nations Club president and diversity coordinator on the Puyallup campus. “That would defeat the goal of our club, which is to share the Native American culture. It’s open to staff and faculty as well.”
The club was first approved in winter quarter 2012. Lopez was the secretary when the club began, but he inherited the presidential duties after a few other club members left the college.
“I want to plant a seed of multiculturalism to further advance the diversity of our campus,” Lopez said.
Griffin Silver, secretary of First Nations Club, agrees with Lopez.
“I’m passionate about sharing the Native American traditions with the student body,” Silver said. “I’m living proof that you don’t have to be Native American to appreciate the culture.”
First Nations Club members have many plans and ideas for this year. They want to host craft projects related to the Native American culture such as making dreamcatchers, seeder roses, medicine bags and drums.
“The biggest thing is we want to tell the stories behind these,” Lopez said. “Everything has symbolism behind it.”
The club officials also plan to invite people to talk about Native American culture. The club wants to invite Chief Leschi’s middle school/high school drum and dance group as well. This way people can learn more about Native American music and the students playing can come enjoy the college atmosphere.
“The sky’s the limit,” Lopez said. “It’s up to the club what we do this year. Sean Cooke, director of student life, told us to think big and that’s what we’re doing.”
Lopez believes many people see Native American culture in a certain way because of the media. He wants people to come to First Nations Club meetings so they can gain a different perspective.
“Keep an open mind about Native American culture,” Lopez said. “What we see on Hollywood often gives us misconceptions. It’s not always like that. Even for those who do have Native American blood, you also might be putting yourself into a stereotype that isn’t true.”
The other club officer is Kiana-lyn Arceo, who is the treasurer.
Students can contact the club at email@example.com.
“Pierce College Puyallup needs this,” Lopez said. “There is this rich culture in our backyard that not very many people are aware of. It’s too beautiful of a culture not to share it.”
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