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Posted April 30, 2013

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Susie Rayos Marmon Students Celebrate Native American Culture

Annual children’s powwow educates, brings everyone together.

S.R. Marmon students dance at the powwow in regalia sewn by parents.

Dancing and wearing homemade shawls, students celebrated the namesake of Susie Rayos Marmon Elementary as they have done each year since 1990. The annual Children’s Celebration Powwow brought artists, storytellers and performers from as far away as Arizona to teach students about Native American culture and community.

Marmon, a member of the Laguna Pueblo, became one of the first Native American educators in the country in 1903, and her legacy has been honored at the school since the year after it opened. While the Laguna Colony in Albuquerque continues to donate to the school and the event, the celebration has in recent years included tribes from around the Southwest.

“This event has a theme of community, of bringing everyone together,” said Joann Henry, one of the event’s organizers. Henry is an intervention specialist at the school who works primarily with Native American students who need help with reading skills. She also teaches about cultures and was instrumental in bringing in Clan Spirit, a Hopi drumming group, from Arizona. She said parents got together on weekends to sew the shawls and other regalia worn by students at the powwow.

Harriet Marmon, Susie Marmon’s granddaughter and a teacher at the school from 1989-2002, attends the celebration every year and loves sharing her heritage with the youngest generation.

“The primary goal is to educate children about New Mexico history,” she said. “This is alive; it’s not a book.”

Students made traditional bread, which was baked in the horno behind the school, with the help of Harriet Marmon’s grandson.

“Kids are like sponges and they’re ready to hear it,” Harriet Marmon said of the day’s lessons. “They take it in and remember it.”

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