MSU Native American students pray for a American Indian Student - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

MSU Native American students pray for a American Indian Student Center on campus

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BOZEMAN -

Montana state university students are working to promote a new American Indian Student Center on campus starting with a prayer ceremony during the 42nd annual American Indian Council Powwow.

Many Native American students on campus say they need a new center to come together as a community, because they small room they have now isn’t big enough for all 650 Native American students on campus.

Native Americans, students, faculty and Bozeman residents came to support the Native American community on campus with chants and prayers hoping finds will come in for what the Native American students say is a much needed student center.

"We're doing together today for this prayer is that we're coming together as Native American students and we're going to put prayers together to really get that commitment going."

Montana Wilson is a senior Native American, who is graduating in May; he says the current and future students need the center.

"It's important have a center for us because a lot of us come from a culture that is different than Bozeman's culture so just having a space that is safe for us where we can connect with one another," said Wilson.

As of right now the current center, in the basement of Wilson Hall, is frequently cramped and overcrowded, resulting in no place for the students to go for the 650 Native American students..

Maria Vega, a junior Native American student says it’s this small room where she finds her home away from home.

“It really is important to have a place like this one especially for the next four years the simulator a home for all of us,” said Maria Vegas, Native American student. “It's been really difficult, I only get to see my family maybe twice a year and it's really hard but it helps to have people like me in this room because were such a family we come together.”

Even MSU President Waded Cruzado joined in on the prayers and says this is a big step for Montana State University.

"It was a very special ceremony today for a very special project that we've been envisioning for the last 10 years,” said Presided Waded Cruzado “It's important for us to be committed to prepare in the future for Native Americans engineers nurses teachers and professionals that will transform those communities in the entire state."

Wilson says this is not only good for native students.

"For non-natives dance it's important to have native students here, because we offer diversity component,” said Wilson. “It also offers a space where they can understand the need of the people are still here in Montana and still have a present here Montana because were the largest minority population in the state."

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