The Native American Student Association (NASA) held their annual fry-bread sale to support their club on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. The club sold out of both sweet and regular fry-bread twice, making a significant amount to support their future events.
The club began with 3 members that felt that Native American culture deserved more representation on campus. One student, who was concerned about the representation of Native Americans and their culture, started the club with the first 3 members who wanted to elevate the representation on campus.
“I think it’s really important to respect all of your identities.” said Blake Johnson, a junior in psychology and president of NASA. “We are all complex people. Being half Native American is one of my many identities and being able to share that with the campus where there isn’t ethnic diversity especially involving Native Americans is really important.”
Fry-bread was a commodity food, as Native Americans traditionally lived off the land. Once put on reservations, the community was forced to eat whatever the government gave them because they had taken away important foods and resources from them—such as buffalo, crops, and poor land for farming. So, they adapted and lived off the commodities that were sent to them by the U.S. government, which included such resources as flour, sugar, powdered milk, and oil. With no ovens, but an ability to make bread, the Native Americans used their skills and adaptability to fry the dough instead of baking it- which has made fry-bread a cultural staple ever since.
“I really love being able to express that part of me.” said Kylee Trouba, a junior history major, and vice president of NASA. “I wasn’t raised with it, unfortunately. (Through the club) I can learn more about myself as well as other people, and I can advocate for things that I am passionate about peacefully. That’s the reason we are doing so many advocacy events.”
One event coming up soon includes a candle-light vigil for the children who died in boarding schools, on Indigenous People’s Day (Oct. 11). This vigil will be held at Gorilla Villa, and information will be shared about what happened at boarding schools along with a personal letter from a person who attended these schools.
“My favorite part about NASA is just getting to bring awareness to all these things. People who say, ‘Oh my gosh I had no idea that existed, or that it happened.’ Really, just getting to teach people all the stuff that the education system misses out on such a huge part of American history.” Johnson said.
Re-learning Thanksgiving is a future event that will discuss this history and re-learning the truth. This event will be a get-together that will serve traditional native American foods as well as trivia about the real history of Thanksgiving and debunking what is considered the white-washed and Americanized version of the holiday on November 30th. There are also plans for a future Native-American women’s event, and another for two-spirit people, or people born with both masculinity and femininity in their spirit. These people are celebrated for their specialty, and their uniqueness to have both spirits within themselves- which would be known today as genderqueer.
The fry-bread sale was extremely successful, selling out of their first batch of fry-bread within fifteen minutes of setting up their table. A long line waited outside for another forty-five minutes in the oval as Blake used her mother’s recipe and made another batch for everyone to enjoy. The club is excited to have these funds to put towards their future events and further representation of the community in the future. They hope to host another fry-bread sale later this semester, as well as many other events during Native American Heritage month this November.
The club is open to new members, regardless of heritage. “We don’t just accept native Americans” Trouba said. “We accept anybody who is willing to learn and advocate.”
NASA holds bi-weekly meetings every other Monday at 5:00 p.m. in Kansas 1 of the overman student center. Anyone interested in joining NASA, learning more about the club, or attending an event and can contact their organization at firstname.lastname@example.org