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Drum Feast Honors Sophía García-Robles, Revives Powwow Tradition at UCSC
On May 26, students with the American Indian Resource Center of UC Santa Cruz organized "Drum Feast" in honor of Sophía García-Robles, a former financial aid adviser at UCSC who was active in the local Native American community. The memorial for García-Robles was intended to revive the powow tradition at UCSC and to, "instill her goals of spreading diversity and cultural presence among the university as well as create a sense of pride and moral for Native people in the Santa Cruz Community."
The memorial was held on the lower lawn of Oakes College, and serving as arena director was Alexis Ortega, a student in psychology at UCSC. Val Shadowhawk was the announcer.
The Amah Mutsun Dancers performed and represented the host Ohlone tribe. The 200-400 year old songs they were singing are very sacred to them and took seven years to learn. "These songs have been asleep and now we have brought them back," they explained. They then described how the dances were 1000 years old, well researched, and that it was very important for them not to, "put forth anything we don't understand." The Amah Mutsun are descendants of people affected by Missions San Antonio and San Juan Buatista, both of which took those who had been previously at Mission Santa Cruz.
Drum Feast also featured performances by the All Nations Singers and Aztec dancers Calpulli Tonalehqueh. There was a variety of information tables and displays, face painting, arts and crafts booths, and food vendors.
From the event announcement:
"Drum Feast in Honor of Sophía García-Rob
May 26, 2012 - 11:00am - 5:30pm
The American Indian Resource Center of UCSC presents Drum Feast in Honor of Sophía García-Robles! Here is some detailed event info:
The purpose of Drum Feast:
Drum Feast is meant to revive the Pow Wow event on UCSC campus that has been dormant for a decade as well as honor a cherished Santa Cruz community member and former financial aid counselor of UCSC. Through this memorial we will instill her goals of spreading diversity & cultural presence among the university as well as create a sense of pride and moral for Native people in the Santa Cruz Community.
Sophía García-Robles was a former financial aid adviser at UCSC. She was an inspiring woman who touched many students through her guidance and perseverance. Sophía remains a known Santa Cruz community member and activist through her involvement with Chicano/Latino and American Indian communities.
She was an active member of the Santa Cruz Indian Council and helped organize the annual Red Road Pow Wow. She regularly volunteered for El Teatro Campesino and for the Santa Fe Indian Market. Obtaining a B.A. of great distinction from San Jose State University, Sophía used her skills in Social Science and Anthropology to serve others. She was a volunteer, activist, and asset to the both her hometown in Borger, Texas as well as in Santa Cruz.
Drum Feast in Honor of Sophía García-Robles, is a memorial to this amazing woman who impacted many with her charm, generosity, and loving personality. The AIRC will commemorate Sophía throughout the event and keep her in our hearts and minds as we all join together to dance, sing, and drum."
For more information about the American Indian Resource Center at UC Santa Cruz, see:
For more information about the Santa Cruz Indian Council, see:
Announcer Val Shadowhawk in the foreground and arena director Alexis Ortega in red.