CSUB presents Native American cultural event

Maryann Kopp

California State University, Bakersfield’s third bi-annual cultural event, Red Bear Circle Native Gathering, was held on the university’s campus on Nov. 8.
Many booths were present at the event that was presented by CSUB’s Indigenous Native American Club. While most offered jewelry, incense, dream catchers and colorful clothing with a Native American slant, there was also a booth for Bakersfield American Indian Health Project as well as a Pampered Chef booth.
Carrie Smith, a representative at the booth for the Bakersfield American Indian Health Project, said that the organization was there to help Native Americans who don’t have insurance and acts as “a payer of last resort in obtaining necessary health needs.” They had free items such as water bottles, t-shirts and several pamphlets for anyone interested in the services provided by the organization.
The tribal arts class (provided by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, or OLLI) helped in making a Tule reed boat that was on display in between a small hut and much larger tipi.
Traditional Native American clothing was displayed on the outside of the tipi. Austin Walters, who is part of the club as well as the arts class, helped in making the boat and said that the entire class had a hand in it.
He also said that “it actually floats,” as many of the class members had tried it out.
The class, according to Walters, includes myriad kinds of people of a wide age group.
Walters volunteered to help out with the event and was running the archery tournament.
This was the first year the event had three games where people competed for medals. Aside from archery, there were also double ball and stickball tournaments.
Erica Silva, the president for the Indigenous Native American Club, was present and was tending to the “hospitality table,” which provided attendees with free sage bundles and other novelty items.
“This event was put together as a cultural event,” Silva said. “We wanted to include everyone who was interested in Native American culture – although the event isn’t limited to just that.”
As a means to make attendees more comfortable, the club decided to stray from holding a more “ceremonial event.”
In doing so, they figured people would not feel as though they were intruding upon an event that didn’t include them if they aren’t Native American. Overall, Silva said that the event was “more mellow and relaxed” than previous years which was mostly due to, according to Silva, another similar event that was taking place on the same day elsewhere.