The 12th annual Weber State Native Symposium was kicked off by a traditional Navajo Sunrise Ceremony early morning Nov 1.
With a respectful circle of onlookers and event coordinators, special guest Lyle Harvey, of the Navajo tribe, began the ceremony with an introduction in his native language.
“This introduction tells of my clans, it tells those around who we are and why we are here,” Harvey said.
He then began to sing a sacred mountain song, which told of family, setting goals, and continually trying to improve day by day.
With only Harvey’s voice to be heard, all who were present watched in reverence as the sacred Navajo mountain song was sung.
These sacred songs are sung to greet the sun for a new day.
“The day we stop speaking our language, all of our culture and history will be pushed into a room and will be locked with a padlock forever,” Harvey said. “That’s how much we value our language. It’s all about perpetuating education and preserving our culture.”
For the past 12 years, Weber State has had a different American Indian tribe come to open the events of the Native Symposium.
“There are different versions and variations of the sunrise ceremony depending on which tribe the ceremony comes from,” Tashina Barber, a counselor for the Center for Multicultural Excellence, said.
The opening event brought many people from other American Indian tribes as well.
Nadina Delgado, a student at Weber State and a Western Shoshone tribe native, said, “For the Western Shoshone, we pray for the sun to come up to have a good day. We sing and do a round dance around the fire until the sun comes up. I wanted to come today to see how mine compares to the Navajo tribe.”
The Native Symposium will continue to host additional events in the upcoming weeks of November.