ONAI (Organization for Native American Interests)
ONAI is one of many student organizations devoted to cultural exploration. Often community members take part in the organization’s events along with student members. Students need not be Native American or NAS minors to take part in regular group activities, but should have both a strong desire to learn more about Native America and a commitment to social justice. Over the years ONAI students have volunteered their time serving community organizations and fundraising for such things as tribal blizzard relief and collecting back-to-school supplies for American Indian children.
The group’s activities are aimed at increasing awareness and understanding through education, experience, interactions with Native American elders, writers, leaders, and so on. ONAI students are encouraged to attend cultural activities such as tribal festivals and powwows, and visit significant historic and cultural landmarks. Some of these travel experiences are organized through the club and some are facilitated by the Native American Studies Program.
ONAI singers share a song at the October 2012 Peace Tree Ceremony on the downtown West Virginia University campus. This drum was gifted to ONAI many years ago for use as a teaching drum, and therefore, unlike many traditional drums, is open to both male and female students, Native and non-Native alike.