The South Mountain Community College American Indian Student Center and the Heard Museum teamed up to host a weaving class for our students, staff, and community.
The four-day class was created to support the teaching of a traditional skill to a new generation of weavers to honor and promote indigenous art.
"We're always looking for ways to connect with partners who can engage our students in cultural experiences," shared Gerard Begay, American Indian Student Center Coordinator. "Working with the Heard Museum helped us provide creative opportunities for our students to learn traditions passed down through generations."
The course provided a safe learning space welcoming 15 students of all ages, where they built a bridge between the younger and older generations.
The Heard Museum is nationally recognized for its exhibitions, art festivals, and educational programming, serving as an advocate of Native American art and culture. Collaborating with SMCC in bringing this class to our campus is the beginning of a partnership that can have a long-lasting impact on our students and the South Phoenix community.
"We're looking forward to continuing to provide programs like these," said Marcus Monenerkit, Director of Engagement at the Heard Museum. "To make art together is a healing and vulnerable process, and to have elders with a new generation helps us traditionally transfer knowledge."
The week-long weaving class immersed students in the culture and taught them the skills to use traditional tools and techniques to weave their own patterns. All students who participated completed their rugs and took the first step in connecting with Native American traditions.
“At the center, we hope to continue to honor our traditions and provide an opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to learn and grow in their culture,” added Begay.