By Steven Adamo
The dance troupe Danza Azteca Xochipilli shared traditions of the Aztec people with East Los Angeles College students Thursday for the Native-American Heritage Month Pow Wow.
The event was organized by executive vice president of Associated Student Union Summer French and ASU secretary Marlene Enriquez.
According to French, pow wows during the month of November have existed on campus for many years but stopped due to the increase of campus construction.
“Last year I put on an open mic night, just to bring the culture back in,” said French. “It went pretty well, so then this year I wanted to do something bigger so that more students are involved.”
The Los Angeles-based group uses their performances to not only entertain, but to also educate the audience about Native-American culture.
“They teach the dance to anyone willing to learn,” French said. French says that pow wows are like a big family gathering of a specific culture. All tribes have pow wows, but they differ based on the tribe.
“All tribes have their own traditions, their way of celebrating life,” French said. The pow wow contains a blessing of the grounds and a prayer to the ancestors. During their performances, Danza Azteca not only explain why they do certain dances, but how to do it.
They also explain their musical instruments to the audience as well as where they come from and how they are made. An ELAC student and volunteer also performed during the event.
Marlene Enriquez, secretary to ASU, helped organize the ELAC clubs that participated, including Gender Sexual Awareness, Puente Club, Study Abroad, AJ Club, ESL and Sociology club.
November was declared National American Indian Heritage Month on August 3, 1990 by President George H.W. Bush, but is most commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month.
Danza Azteca Xochipilli performs regularly in Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
They can be contacted through their Facebook page by searching for Danza Azteca Xochipilli.