The Sunrise Ceremony will mark a new beginning for the campus community

The Sunrise Ceremony will mark a new beginning for the campus community

By Andy OberUniversity Communications
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The annual Sunrise Ceremony returns to the Mall this year. In the photo above, campus community members participate in a ceremony held a few years ago.
The annual Sunrise Ceremony returns to the Mall this year. In the photo above, campus community members participate in a ceremony held a few years ago.
Denise Morales, Native American Student Affairs coordinator
Denise Morales, Native American Student Affairs coordinator
The ceremony is open to the public and will be followed by an open house at the Robert L. Nugent Building.
The ceremony is open to the public and will be followed by an open house at the Robert L. Nugent Building.

Native American Student Affairs and Asian Pacific American Student Affairs will hold the annual Sunrise Ceremony on the Mall at 8 a.m. on Sept. 1 to bring a sense of spiritual renewal and a new beginning for the campus community.

The blessing ceremony, which marks the start of a new academic year, is returning to an in-person format after being held virtually last year.

The blessing ceremony will feature two Indigenous elders burning cedar while praying to the four directions. The elders will then "smudge" attendees using a ceremonial fan made of eagle feathers. The ritual is said to provide physical and spiritual strength while clearing the mind.

Denise Morales, Native American Student Affairs coordinator, says that like the exhibit of flags representing Arizona's 22 Native American nations in the BookStore at the Student Union Memorial Center, the ceremony is a good way to support and honor the Indigenous community on campus.

"Behind those flags there are students, faculty and staff representing those nations," Morales says. "They need places on campus where they can practice their traditions and they need to be supported institutionally."

The University recently crafted a new statement that acknowledges the University's home on the land and territories of Indigenous people.

Anyone is welcome at the ceremony, which will be followed by an open house at the Robert L. Nugent Building, which houses the NASA and APASA offices. A virtual open house will begin at 10 a.m. Breakfast will be provided at 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided from noon to 1 p.m.

Those looking for more information can email apasa@email.arizona.edu.

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