A celebration of Native American heritage

25th Annual Powwow raises funds for UTA Native American students

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 • Devynn Case :

UTA's Native American Student Association sponsors the Annual Scholarship Benefit Powwow

Hundreds of participants are expected Saturday at The University of Texas at Arlington’s 25th Annual Scholarship Benefit Powwow.

The event, which celebrates American Indian culture and heritage and benefits the Native American Student Association Scholarship fund, will host members of Native Americans tribes from across Texas and the Southwest.

“The UTA Powwow has grown tremendously. What use to be a UTA event is now a regional, even national event,” said Les Riding-In, assistant dean of academic affairs in the College of Liberal Arts. “We have dancers, drummers and vendors coming from all over the Southwest. Seeing this happen at UTA is special, as only a few universities can claim to have such a reputable powwow.”

UTA’s Native American Student Association (NASA) sponsors the event and hosts other activities throughout the year to celebrate its members’ culture and heritage. Begun in 1994, the student organization welcomes Native and non-Native students and is the longest continuously running student group in Texas that supports Native American interests.

“About 2% of the national population is Native American, and in a lot of discussions about diversity, this population becomes invisible,” said Ken Roemer, Piper Professor and Distinguished Teaching and Scholar Professor in UTA’s College of Liberal Arts and an expert in Native American literature. “But here at UTA we support them with scholarships, a student group and programs.”

The powwow is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb. 29 at the Maverick Activities Center, 500 W. Nedderman Dr. It is held in association with the College of Liberal Arts, the Honors College and the Department of English. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams and UTA President Vistasp Karbhari will offer welcoming comments.

UTA’s continued support of the Native American community has earned recognition nationally. For the fifth year in a row, UTA is listed among the nation’s best universities for Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students by Winds of Change, a publication of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. The magazine evaluates and ranks the top 200 universities with strong Native American communities and academic support systems in place for student success.

UTA senior Kasey Reynolds, president of NASA and citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, said the University actively supports its Native American students.

“UTA doesn’t just check in with our community once a year—they stay involved,” Reynolds said. “It’s important to me that the Native community at large feels welcome at UTA and our events. The Cherokee, Choctaw, local dancers and Native artists—they feel respected. That’s what matters to me.”

This year, the event will also honor Joseph Patton Bohanon, a cofounder and charter member of NASA at UTA, who died on Feb. 18 at age 65. He graduated from UTA with a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s degree in social work administration and community planning.