“Native American culture isn’t dead,” said Joy Crouch, an organizer of the American Indian cultural celebration to be held on campus this week.

The celebration, which has been held at UCSB for the past 25 years, tries to promote Native American culture.

“[We want] to let people know that Native American culture … is alive and thriving throughout the community and throughout California,” said Crouch, who has worked as a student intern for American Indian Student Cultural Services (AISCS).

Education Opportunity Program’s AISCS, the American Indian Student Association (AISA), Women Warriors, and the American Indian Graduate Student Association sponsored this week of events to try to erase Native American stereotypes.

“We don’t look like the Hollywood stereotypes,” AISCS coordinator Brenda Mercado said. “We don’t all look like ‘Dances with Wolves.'”

The celebration will begin today at 10:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony at the “Tree of Peace,” a pine tree located north of Storke Tower planted to signify unity. All are welcome to join community leaders in a prayer honoring the Native American community.

AISCS will host an American Indian teach-in and festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the front lawn of Building 434 on Tuesday. Planned events include lectures, a presentation by the Chumash Maritime Association, and Native American dancing.

AISA will host a First People’s Cultural Celebration on Wednesday, also on the Building 434 lawn. The celebration will include more dancers, speakers, and Native American food and art for sale. At 4 p.m., Native American speaker Dacajewiah will be giving a lecture in the MultiCultural Center Theater, and at 8:30 p.m. John Trudell and Bad Dog, a Native American music group, will perform at the Hub.

The week will conclude with an American Indian lecture and film series on Thursday, May 16. It will beheld at the MCC Theatre. Another lecture on “Chumash Baskets” by Jan Timbrook of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, which will be held in the African American and American Indian Cultural Center.

Usually a couple hundred people participate in these events each year. “We hope for a couple more this year,” Mercado said.

Since the year 2000, 158 Native American undergraduates have attended UCSB, which Mercado said could account for smaller celebrations than at other UC campuses.

“Other universities in California do celebrate American Culture week by way of pow-wows, which are usually larger events and they have a slightly different focus,” she said. “But our celebration is smaller; we have a smaller number of students on campus and less representation.”

The UCSB outreach program is working to increase the number of Native American students at UCSB and will host American Indian Family Day on May 19 in which American Indian high school students and their families from all over the state will congregate at UCSB. The day will focus on increasing American Indian students’ interest in higher education in hopes of someday increasing the number of American Indian students attending UCSB. Currently, American Indians make up 1 percent of students at UCSB.