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Cultural expo at South Dakota Mines continues through Saturday

Sharvil Pai Raiker, a Mines student from Goa, India, teaches a group about the country at the expo
C.J. Keene
South Dakota Public Broadcasting
Sharvil Pai Raiker, a Mines student from Goa, India, teaches a group about the country at the expo

The cultural expo runs through this week on the Mines campus.

Beth Riley is the assistant director of the Ivanhoe International Center at Mines. She said it’s an opportunity for Rapid City to connect with the world – and for international students to connect with home.

“For them to be able to give a little bit of information about their country or culture really means a lot for them, because they come from such a long way away – to be able to share a little bit of their country doesn’t make them feel so homesick,” Riley said.

At the table representing South Dakota’s tribes is Ava Knutson from Redshirt on the Pine Ridge Reservation. She said sharing her cultural experience brings her happiness.

“I feel like a lot of times people forget that Natives are here or that we’re even so close, and a lot of people actually are interested so it's really nice to talk with other people who appreciate what you’re doing," Knutson said. "I want them to know that there is beauty in diversity, and that you have something to learn from every person out there.”

Another table representing the nations of Africa is run in part by Edna Egbunu from Nigeria. Egbunu, who speaks four languages, said she doesn’t want Americans to pigeonhole Africa.

“Coming here and hearing ‘oh, I didn’t know Africa was a continent’ I’m like, oh interesting – yeah Africa is a big continent," Egbunu said. "There’s a lot of things, Nigeria alone has over 300 tribes and religions and all that. Africa is a big place, and people should go there and see.”

The final day of the cultural expo is Saturday and will be open to the public in the Surbeck building on campus from 11 a.m. through 2 p.m.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture