FLAGSTAFF — On May 11, Native American graduates, staff and faculty gathered at Audrey Auditorium on the campus of Northern Arizona University to celebrate their cultural heritage. Many attending the 11th annual Native American Convocation and Awards Ceremony donned their respective tribal attire.
All were acknowledged by their name, tribal affiliation, degree, clans and hometown as family friends and tribal leaders looked on.
The ceremony included a presentation of awards to four recipients:
• Gladys Onsae, (Hopi), Elementary Education, received the Outstanding Native American Graduating Senior Award.
• Graylynn Whiterock, (Navajo), Administration, received the Outstanding Native American Graduate Student Award.
• Vernon L. Davis, (Navajo), Graphic Designer, Printing Services and Native American United Advisor, received the Outstanding Native American Staff Award.
• Dr. Karen Jarratt-Ziemski, (Mississippi Choctaw) Faculty Instructor Applied Indigenous Studies, received the Outstanding Native American Faculty Award.
Each graduate received a handmade sash as a commemorative gift with artwork depicting the San Francisco Peaks, Monument Valley and southern Arizona deserts. Eagles and feathers were also included on the sash to indicate the courage, persistence bravery and wisdom required for students to succeed.
Le Roy Shingaoitewa, principal at Kinsey Elementary School, served as master of ceremonies. NAU President Dr. John D. Haeger gave a welcoming address. The Akimel Au-Authm Dancers, led by Frank Poocha, provided entertainment. Flutist Gregory B. La Ponte, Sicangu Lakota, played the music for the processional and recessional.