The TTUHSC El Paso community was treated to a feast of squash tamales, pueblo oven-baked bread and sweet biscochito cookies during the Cultural Diversity Celebration honoring Native American Heritage Month at the Medical Education Building on Friday, Nov. 15.
The noon event, presented by the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Health, was designed to promote awareness of Native American culture and highlight the diversity of the Borderland region.
For this celebration, organizers turned the spotlight on the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo tribe, located in Ysleta, Texas, about 13 miles from Downtown El Paso. The reservation is home to the indigenous Tigua people, who settled in the area over 300 years ago after the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico rebelled against Spanish colonizers.
Pilar Provencio, coordinator with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Health, said the office organizes two cultural celebrations every year — one in the spring and one in the fall. The Cultural Diversity Celebration is a chance for everyone on campus to experience the food, music, dance and other aspects of various world cultures.
“This was the first time we have highlighted Native American culture, so we were very happy the Tigua tribe accepted our invitation to participate in today’s event,” Provencio said. Past celebrations have featured Colombian, Filipino, African, and Middle Eastern cuisine and culture, she said.
Provencio’s office served squash tamales, and the Tiguas provided the bread and biscochitos. A member of the Tigua tribe baked the goodies using an “horno,” a traditional outdoor oven made of adobe. Rick Quezada, director of the Department of Cultural Preservation for the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, was the event’s guest speaker.
“The Tiguas also brought some examples of their pottery, ceremonial gourd rattles, and other items to share with us today,” Provencio said.
As part of the Native American Celebration, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Global Health presented the documentary “Tribal Justice” on Thursday, Nov. 14, as part of the office’s Diversity and Global Health Perspectives Film Series. “Tribal Justice” focuses on Native American tribes’ innovative efforts to change tribal court systems so that they rehabilitate, rather than punish, offenders.
The monthly film series is one of the office’s many educational activities that promote awareness and provide the TTUHSC El Paso campus and local community information about global, national, and local health and social issues.
Check out a photo gallery of the Cultural Diversity Celebration below: