Tiospaye celebrates USD students’ return

Tiospaye celebrates USD students' return by Lisa ShortBull Jamie and Sarah Arroba have celebrated the arrival of The University of South Dakota's new and returning students with the Native American concept of "Tiospaye."

"Tiospaye" means extended family or more literally "being a good relative." As a member of the community and former USD student Sarah Arroba understands the importance of having a need for a social outlet so students can get to know one another.

"We hold a picnic every year. It's fun to see all the students having a good time," she said.

At the start of the picnic at Prentis Park, all the students gathered in a circle holding hands. A prayer was led by USD student Elijah Sitting Crow.

The students were blessed by traditional Native American music performed by the Oyate Singers, including Dr. Wayne Evans, John Zeman, Lisa ShortBull, Kate Tracy and Eric Plotztky. Other members were unable to attend.

The drum used is a life force to the Native Americans and has a history of its own. It was found by Victor Singing Eagle, author and former USD instructor, at a pawn shop. Singing Eagle adopted the drum, took care of it and then gave it to Zeman to assure a good home.

The drum has since been blessed and is used for special events. It is an honor to be a part of or witness to its use.

An honor song was sung for the Arroba family. During the song, students shook hands with the Arrobas in single file, to give thanks for their support.

The meal was prepared by Charlie Lucke and Jamie Huff, director of the JOM/Title 7 for Native American students in the Vermillion School District.

Alex Arroba, eldest son of Jamie and Sarah, said, "It was such a good feeling watching Charlie looking at my daughters. I know he was remembering me and my brother and sister when we were little and how we used to run around at these same picnics."

Alex Arroba is also a student at USD.

Nearly 100 students participated. One only had to drive by and smell all the good food and hear the music to know that these students were all well taken care of for the night.

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