Cal State Long Beach is home to one of the oldest and largest Native American Indian Studies programs.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The beat of the drum echoed throughout the campus of Cal State Long Beach as the school kicked off Native American Heritage Month with tribal dancing, singing and crafts.
"It's an honor to be Native American. You know a lot of our cultural ways were illegal at the time back in the day for 100 years," said performer Ba'ac Garcia.
"The theme that you will see here is how we are interconnected. How the faculty that work here, the people that work here, they're connected to folks in the community," said Craig Stone, Director of Cal State Long Beach's American Indian Studies program.
Stone says Cal State Long Beach is home to one of the oldest and largest Native American Indian studies programs, and Wednesday was a special day to honor the traditions and customs of Native Americans.
"We have 20 faculty members in American Indian Studies and we have 997 students that we teach to. All the people who are here today are connected to this place," Stone said.
"It just feels good to carry on what's been taught to my dad, my grandparents and to me," said student Eric Bohay.
Cal State Long Beach has a rich Native American history. The very first powwow at the school was started in 1968.
Student Eric Bohay says a powwow is gathering of Native people with different styles of dances, similar to what many students saw at the event. He said his grandparents were part of the original powwow here on campus.
"My grandpa has been head singer here; my dad has been head singer here. That's an important position when it comes to the powwow," Bohay said.
Like Bohay, many other Native American students want others to recognize how diverse their culture and tribes are.
"We are all different, we all have different cultures and traditions and dances. And it's important to carry that on so we can preserve our culture," said student Eleanor Nelson.
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