Students engage in Native American culture through painting event

Students created Kokopelli paintings at an event Nov. 6. Photo courtesy of Ben Hultman.
Students created Kokopelli paintings at an event Nov. 6. Photo courtesy of Ben Hultman.

With the help of the office of Student Engagement and Leadership and the Diversity Resource Center, staff taught students about the legend of the Kokopelli: a fertility god, prankster, healer and storyteller.

Students had the opportunity to learn about the Kokopelli and socialize at a painting event Nov. 6.

“I am expecting that students would learn more about Native American Culture and engage in traditions as well as enjoying this event,” Michael Sun, a part of the DRC, said. “It is an educational event that is very inclusive. It brings students together to learn more about Native American traditions while they are having fun.”

Senator at large of the Associated Students’ Government, Rick Quintana, played the flute and gave history on the Kokopelli at the event.

“I was very pleased to take part of the Kokopelli painting event. It was my first time playing my flute for such an event honoring a spiritual legend known throughout the Americas,” Quintana said.

“I never thought that I would ever learn to play the flute that had to take part of such a mystical legend of the Native Americans. Learning about the flute and what it meant to the ‘Medicine Man’ and the healing properties that it has brought me closer to my own connection with the ‘Great Spirit’ which had changed the course of my life over the past eleven years, that I have been practicing,” Quintana added.

Referring to the Kokopelli, Quintana said that aside from teaching with storytelling, the Kokopelli’s interaction with music and art brings out the essence of Native American life and their direct connection with the “Great Spirit.” Quintana said that these small events honor and keep alive the Native Americans and their traditions.

“Taking part in events such as this one opens the mind and heart to those who seek a natural magic way of living. Being in harmony and one with the ‘Great Spirit’ and the universe which we partake in. To only take and use what we need to live and be thankful for what we are given is the Native American way of life.”

Coordinator of SEAL, Alexis King, said that she loved events where she gets to use her additional talents of hobbies to help students.

“Painting event like this come out of the Student Engagement and Leadership Office two times a semester,” King said.

Prior to the event, King researched extra information on the Kokopelli and learned a lot about the fertility deity.

“DRC hosts several events throughout the year that students can learn about through the Howl, online or by visiting their office,” King added.

According to King, the next painting event will include the Colorado flag in February. Students will be able to sign up for the event in January of 2016 in the SEAL office located in the OUC, Room 006.