Native American author Simon Ortiz gives students, community different perspective

South Texas College celebrated Native American Heritage Month on Nov. 1 with a lecture by Native American author and poet Simon Ortiz. From left, STC English Instructor Joseph Haske, Simon Ortiz, STC English Instructors Daniel Tyx and Tom Fuschetto, and STC Library Specialist Esther García.

South Texas College celebrated Native American Heritage Month on Nov. 1 with a full house at the Pecan Campus Library Rainbow Room that welcomed Native American author and poet Dr. Simon J. Ortiz to the Rio Grande Valley.

“The students really seemed to enjoy his words, and I was overwhelmed by the attendance,” expressed STC Librarian Esther Garcia. “This was a very successful partnership with between STC’s Library Services and the college’s English department, and we will continue to work together to bring more diverse speakers that will benefit our students.”

Ortiz is a member of the Acoma Pueblo Tribe and a professor at Arizona State University. During his lecture, he recited poems in English and Keresan from his books, including “Woven Stone,” Sand Creek” and “The Good Rainbow Road,” told stories about his life, family, and friends, and sang traditional songs of the Acoma Pueblo, as well as original songs inspired by his community.

“People often ask why I write,” Ortiz said. “I want to tell about my community. There is a need in all of us to express what’s inside our mind, hearts, and imagination. Music artists and dancers, for example, are expressive. Writing can be anything about what we do and who we are.”

After the lecture Ortiz participated in a book signing, where students and community members had the opportunity to take photos and chat with the Native American author.

“The presentation by Mr. Ortiz was informative, educational and very insightful in regards to how his culture communicates as a collective community,” said STC student Jonathan Salinas.

“It helped raise awareness about his culture which was very interesting,” added fellow STC student Michael Carrillo. “I bought a book and I’m looking forward to reading his poetry.”

Native American Heritage Month takes place every November and aims to recognize the significant contributions of Native Americans and celebrate their culture and history.

STC’s Library Services is committed to providing continued open access to an even greater availability of higher education to STC students by enhancing technology and information services.

For more information, contact the STC Library Department at (956) 872-6485 or visit http://offtheshelf.southtexascollege.edu/.

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