Indigenous Arts Fest welcomes students to observe Native American art


Charger Bulletin/Charlotte Bassett

Crafts from the Indigenous Arts Fest, West Haven, Nov. 15, 2022.

Presley DePugh, Arts & Life Editor

University students got a taste of Indigenous culture last Tuesday as the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion held a showcase for Indigenous art in Gerber Hall. Students received lunch and the chance to engage in activities for the fest.

After checking in, students could grab lunch while listening to music by Indigenous musicians. The Spotify playlist titled “Indigenous” featured music from Indigenous creators in Canada such as Amanda Rheaume and Fawn Wood.

Angelina Caroli, a junior criminal justice major from the Mohegan Tribe and one of the students who planned the event, said “This is mostly just an event…to showcase just a little bit of what Indigenous art entails.”

Artifacts from the Eastern Pequot Tribal Nation were brought in by Destiny Ray, a member of that nation and a junior cybersecurity and networks major who also planned the event. Ray listed event activities that included painting terracotta pots and planting seeds in the pots.

“We really want people to know what we grew in our tribes and what you can still grow today,” Ray said. The painting “brought out a lot of people’s creativity, and also once they finish creating it they are able to grow something.”

Seeds that attendees planted included wild strawberry seeds. Caroli said “harvesting crops is huge in Indigenous culture.”

Another activity that students were able to participate in was beading, which is an Indigenous practice for people to make belts, jewelry and items that are part of their regalia, “which is a connection to our spiritual self, ” Caroli said. “Beading is very versatile in Indigenous culture; it can be a gift, it can be a part of our spiritual self, it can tell a story.”

Ray said that beading, “also depends on what tribe you’re from; it can have different meanings. Not all beadings [are] the same.”

Caroli said the event could help people to know “just that Indigenous cultures still exist.”

“There’s no harm in educating yourself,” Caroli said. “Look up what you can, try to do your own research, talk to Indigenous peoples if you have access.”

November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Arts Fest was one of the various Indigenous Peoples events hosted by the university and Myatt Center throughout the month.