November proved to be a big month for branching out on projects and programs despite the fact that it was a short month because of the Thanksgiving break. I kicked off the month with the help of the Department of Anthropology, the Latin American, Latino, Caribbean Center, and the Women’s Center. Together, the various centers and departments celebrated El Día De Los Muertos. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico and takes place on November 1 and 2, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. We celebrated by building a small altar and placing a framed list with the names of members of the CCSU community who had died in the previous year. The altar was pretty authentic in regards to decoration although we couldn’t decorate with the traditional marigolds and substituted mums instead.
Since the theme for November was Native American Heritage Month at the Mosaic Center, our biggest events were related to the celebration of this theme. I was able to get in contact with Terri Delahanty, a fellow Connecticut program coordinator, to host a Native American banquet at CCSU. Terri is American Indian (Cree Tribe) with the regular practice of Native Ceremonies, meditation, and women’s rituals. She facilitates the Women’s Council Group and Dream Inquest Group that meets monthly. She also facilitates work-shops on creating personal Sacred Drums and Rattles and Spiritual workshops all over Turtle Island (North America). In addition, I worked with Dr. Katherine Hermes to create a menu for the event using Eastern Woodland Indian recipes pulled from The Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook. We had approximately 80 guests and more than half even participated in a drum and dance circle at the event. (We only had room for 90 guests.) The funding for the event was mostly made possible through a diversity grant I received from the Office of Diversity and Equity. (All that practice grant-writing as an undergrad and grad paid off in the real world as well!)
Finally, the LGBT Center and the Mosaic Center closed off the month with a showing of the film Two Spirits. The film not only addressed Native American cultural themes, but also themes relevant to LGBT isssues as well. I was pleasantly surprised by Dr. Hermes, who rounded up two of her classes to attend the film. A large number of walk-in students attended as well. We were able to fill the room that the film was shown in. (The room holds 35 and we even had one or two people on the floor.)
While I don’t have any programs slated for December, I will be compiling a big report with stats, progress details, administrative suggestions, and projections for the Spring 2013. I can’t wait to begin planning for the following semester.