Clark Festival Celebrates Indigenous Cultures

Children of the Kaleinani o Ke Kukui hula school perform a traditional hula dance with conch shells and colorful dress. Kaleinani o Ke Kukui hula school is part of the Ke Kukui Foundation which teaches about traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. (Andy Bao/The Independent

Native song and dance filled Gaiser Hall Thursday evening as Clark celebrated indigenous cultures from morning to night.

Guitars and pan flutes blared to the beat of hand drums while the smell of “tacos el pastor,” pork tacos, wafted through the concert hall.

Dressed in colorful attire, different groups ranging from Latin America to the Ke Kukui Foundation representing native Hawaiian and Pacific Islands, showed off different cultural customs.

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Clark’s Native American Culture Club hosted an Indigenous cultural celebration May 25 in Gaiser Hall from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Channa Smith, who heads the club, explained how important events like this help celebrate diversity with the local community.

“This is a place where students of color feel safe,” Smith said in a speech.

Verne Wilson, a Vancouver local who came to celebrate his Native American heritage, expressed his desire to see Clark continue holding these events.

“This is great for everybody to celebrate native cultures,” Wilson said.

Clark soccer player Woodlin Placide joined Patrick Carrier, another Clark student, on stage for “Expressions from Haiti.” The duo shared rap songs they wrote, expressing their hardships and their gratefulness to those who helped them achieve their goals both in Haiti and in the U.S.

Following Placide, the children of the Kaleinani o Ke Kukui hula school performed a traditional hula dance followed by older students switching between modern and traditional hula.  

The dance troupe performed their routines with music from Kaloku Holt on guitar, his brother Keawe Holt on ukulele and uncle Randy Chang strumming the bass.  

The night continued with Native American pow wows, drumming and dancing.

Mexican folk dancing joined the mix, featuring several women stomping the ground while fanning the air in long vibrant traditional dresses.

After horchata and cake, the night ended with flute music performed by Isaac Trimble who represented the Mescalero Apache tribe.

About Elliott C Lang (25 Articles)
My Name is Elliott Lang, I'm a food and culture enthusiast. I am also a huge Portland Trailblazer fan! My interests span the globe as I search for fun things to eat and do, or just watch Netflix...

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