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The University Star

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Dance group celebrates Indigenous culture on campus

Evelio+Flores+and+his+team+of+dancers+perform+an+ancient+Aztec+dance+called+the+Chichimecas%2C%26%23160%3B+Monday%2C+Sept.+13%2C+2021%2C+at+Texas+State+University.

Evelio Flores and his team of dancers perform an ancient Aztec dance called the Chichimecas,  Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, at Texas State University.

Dancers dressed in headdresses lined with colorful feathers and gold-plated chest plates performed and celebrated Texas State’s Hispanic Serving Institution Week on Sept. 13 underneath the Arch at the University College Advising Center. 
The dancers performed an ancient Aztec dance called the Chichimecas. While the dance is hundreds of years old, Evelio Flores, one of the dancers, has been performing since 1997 and was invited to perform at Texas State by the Indigenous Cultures Institute of San Marcos. Flores is proud of his culture and hopes to bring down old stereotypes about Indigenous peoples.
“Not too long ago there was this notion not just in the U.S. but in a lot of places where being Native was like being seen as somebody that was foolish, dumb or inferior but we’re very proud of our culture,” Flores said. “Native American people have contributed many positive things and I think dance is a fun and beautiful way to show everyone that our culture is still here.”
The dancers wore headdresses with dozens of multicolored feathers decorating them. Flores, the leader of the group dance, was dressed in gold with the exception of his red and black feathers. Other members wore shades of blue, green and red, often with depictions of animals on them, such as a deer or turkey. According to Flores, the feathers bring them closer to The Great Spirit, which holds religious significance.
“Originally you would earn a feather per experience, looking at my headdress I would be like 200 years old with all these feathers, but feathers and birds are the closest things to the holy spirit,” Flores said. “The turkey [feathers] represent memory for us so as we use our turkey feathers it’s to let everyone remember that we are still here, and our culture is still here.”
A push for unity was clear throughout the dance and in-between dances when Flores would speak to the onlooking crowd. Often anyone willing to participate would be invited to step forward and dance. Flores also spoke about the unity between the Earth and the people on it. He encouraged people to be conscious of climate change and the effect individuals have on the planet.
“We have to have clean air and clean water and keep our mother Earth clean so our future descendants can benefit from it not just a few [people],” Flores said. “If we understand that we are all connected and that what befalls one befalls the other I think we can get together and [fight] the effects of climate change.”

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