Observing those who help other cultures in the union breezeway


Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

Sometimes the most mundane tasks end up opening a window into the realities of our American culture.

Many of you probably saw me in the student union onFriday and Monday, hawking raffle tickets for a traditional star quilt which will be raffled off at the SDSU Native American Club powwow this Saturday.

As my friend and I sat there we watched the people that walked by, wondering how they would answer the question, “Wanna buy a raffle ticket?”

Over the period of a couple of days I witnessed the workings of the campus psyche. Since we weren’t the only ones asking for money those two days (I won’t name names, but you know who you are, and by the way thank you for buying those tickets), I watched many people walk by us and give their money to another cause.

And by doing so, I can tell you the type of people most likely to contribute to an American Indian cause besides other American Indians.

First, there are the administrators. One dean and numerous department heads who passed our way bought at least one ticket and many bought more than one. I hate to say this, but I couldn’t help but wonder if it was simply their way of helping a cause they believed in or their way of showing how politically correct they were.

I’ve decided that they simply wanted to help. I know thisbecause the department heads and the dean that bought the tickets are the same ones I see at the Native American Club functions as well as other American Indian programs held at SDSU, including the powwow. And whenever we need their expertise, they do everything in their power to help us out.

Second, there were the faculty members who bought tickets. Many of these faculty members had been our teachers at one point, though there were others who helped just the same.

It’s so good to know that our teachers support us minority students on campus. I came from schools where the teachers were often as prejudiced as the students. College professors here are a welcome change from what I’m used to.

Third, our constituents from the Students’ Association Senate dropped by our table several times, buying tickets and also visiting.

You guys put your money where your mouths are. Thank you!

Students from other minority groups were just as helpful. Even if some of them didn’t buy tickets, they would still nod and smile and stop to chat. In fact a few of them kept us a tad sidetracked with their humor.

Many of the other SDSU students who bought tickets were colleagues in our respective majors.

It just proves that getting to know people is the key to overcoming prejudice and racism. From the outside our classmates looked just the same as the ones who wouldn’t even give us a second glance. But the reason they stopped is because they consider us their friends.

Lastly, there were all the other people who didn’t buy tickets at all. We realize that many of those students were simply broke or carried only their Hobo Dough cards. But there were a few times when we heard, “I’m broke,” only to see them hand cash to one of the other people in the breezeway.

Frankly, I don’t know what to say to those other people. To make the assumption that they are all racist and can’t stand the sight of us would be ridiculous.

I guess what it boils down to is that I wish that those people would have taken a second look, or stopped just a minute to get some more information.

But better yet, I hope to see them at the powwow this Saturday. I’d like to sit down and eat some frybread with them and just visit. I think the simple act of eating together is probably the one human universal which brings us together better than anything else.

I’ll even give you my share of wojapi.

Tasiyagnunpa Livermont is the Collegian’s web editor. Reach her at [email protected].