WSU celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Several events including teepee assembly, drum group scheduled

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

Today students across campus celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an opportunity for Native people to educate others and honor their culture. 

Joelle Edwards, WSU Native American Programs retention specialist, said the day is the perfect time for people to reflect on the narrative that was previously told. 

Events will begin with a teepee assembling demonstration at 9 a.m. on the steps outside Todd Hall, Edwards said. Everyone, not just those who are Native, is welcome to watch or help with the assembly. 

A drum group will perform directly after the demonstration at 10 a.m. on Glenn Terrell Mall. A round dance will start at the same time, said Fabian Mondejar, president of the Native American Women’s Association and public relations officer for Ku-Ah-Mah. 

“The purpose of a round dance is the social aspect,” he said, “getting to know one another and meeting new people while socializing during the dance.” 

A luncheon will be held at 11:15 a.m. at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center, followed by a keynote speaker. A showing of the documentary “Exterminate All the Brutes”  will take place at 4 p.m. in the center, Edwards said. 

Students can register on GivePulse to help with tabling from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Terrell Mall, and they can receive community service hours, Edwards said. Native trivia, stickers and other activities will be available. 

Despite the stereotypes surrounding Native culture, the over 500 Native students on campus continue to prove people wrong, he said. The rest of the student body should educate themselves on ways to help combat the stigma. 

“Indigenous people are here on campus, we are in your classrooms,” he said. “There’s this stigma of ‘Native people do not go to college and they do not succeed or move off the reservation.’ We are breaking that stigma by being here.” 

Mondejar said a great way to stay involved following IPD is to start attending different organizations’ meetings on campus. Clubs like NAWA are the perfect place to start.

There are several podcasts Edwards said she recommends to students hoping to start educating themselves, including “All My Relations,”  “This Land”  and “Missing and Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.”

IPD, formerly recognized as Columbus Day, is a way of remembering the reckoning of Native culture and is the perfect way for non-Native people to start educating themselves, Mondejar said. 

Edwards said another way to continue learning is to attend events during Native American History Month in November. Information can be found on the WSU native programs Instagram.