Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Native Community

Posted 05/22/2017 by Grace Leonard

Members of the Native American Student Alliance help set up for the annual powwow. photo courtesy of Chenoa Crowshoe Patterson

The Native American Student Alliance spreads awareness for their heritage and culture at TJ.

The Native American Student Alliance is made up of a group of students with Native American heritage who come together to bring awareness to their culture. Native American Student Support Program leader Chenoa Crowshoe- Patterson reaches out to students to join the club, which meets every Wednesday at lunch. Anyone, however, can come participate in the club. The club aims to promote awareness of their heritage by bringing Native American values, culture, and events to the community.

The club was started by students in March of this year, but students have been wanting to create the club for some time.  Crowshoe-Patterson and art teacher Leonard Fox agreed to sponsor the club, which set the students’ plans in motion. There are currently 10 members, ranging from freshmen to seniors. “I hope people can learn more about the people who have been in this country for a long time and offer a great deal to the heritage of our country,” explained Freshman Sevian Swimmer. They hope to continue to gain members in the coming years and promote awareness of Native American culture.

Most recently, the club has been selling fry bread after school, and on April 29th they held a Chipotle fundraiser to raise funds for a powwow, a celebration with food and dance to celebrate Native American culture. The event occurred on May 6th at Tall Bull Memorial Grounds in Sedalia, and included a ground blessing, multiple dances and competitions for all ages, a community feed, and a college fair.  The Native American Student Alliances of TJ, South High School, East High School, and the Denver Center of International Studies helped fundraise and organize the powwow.  Crowshoe-Patterson remarked, “We had a lot of community members and staff from TJ show up, and the students felt really supported.” The event was a success and the club hopes to contribute to more powwows in the coming years.

The club has a bright future and hopes to promote awareness for their heritage in years to come.  Any student looking to join the Native American Student Alliance should come to meetings in room 5 on Wednesdays at lunch or contact Ms. Crowshoe-Patterson at chenoa_crowshoepatterson@dpsk12.org.