University honors Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Celebration will include Native American food offered at Hillside Cafe



Faith Price, director of Native American Student Services, participates in a round dance with students and community members to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 8, 2018 at Glenn Terrell Friendship Mall.

LOREN NEGRON, Evergreen editor-in-chief

WSU is celebrating its second annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday with diverse activities organized by WSU’s Native American Programs.

Tony Brave, Native American Programs outreach coordinator, said celebrating this day is a great way to honor and recognize Indigenous people on campus.

“The day itself is just a special day to be able to center and celebrate not only people who are native to this land, in this continent but also Indigenous peoples worldwide,” he said. “I think that’s very special, and there hasn’t been a day like that before.”

Joelle Berg, Native American retention specialist and event organizer, said all WSU campuses celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day every second Monday in October after WSU President Kirk Schulz signed a proclamation last year.

“I know there’s a lot of Native kids in the area that are traditionally here,” she said. “It’s something for them to feel like they’re being recognized in the community and feel empowered and respected too in a way.”

Berg said the celebration will begin at 8:15 a.m. with a teepee set up on the steps of Todd Hall. Anyone is welcome to come join and help with the set up.

“You don’t have to be Native to participate in the events,” she said. “It’s a community thing. We welcome anyone.”

Native American Programs will table from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Todd Hall. Berg said they will hand out fliers and hold trivia games to help educate the WSU community about Native Americans and other Indigenous people.

From 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Hillside Cafe will present an Indigenous Celebration lunch to recognize and celebrate Native American food and culture. This is in collaboration with Ku-Ah-Mah Native Student Association.

At noon, Jaissa Grunlose, junior business administration major who is Miss Pah-Loots-Puu representing the WSU powwow, will be welcomed by WSU officials at the Todd steps. Round dancing and a performance from the Waahpp Qaqun drum group will begin afterward, which will be on the Terrell Mall.

Berg said this celebration is an excellent way for students to gain new experiences and engage in discussions with diverse groups of people. She said they are planning to partner up with other Indigenous groups for next year’s program.

“Even though Indigenous Peoples’ Day is only one day, not a whole education curriculum, it is a wonderful start and is a great time to expose students and staff and community alike to issues that Native people face,” Brave said.

Educating the public about issues Native Americans and other Indigenous people experience is an important responsibility, he said. It is important for individuals to understand how current issues relate to the past and how they will affect the future.

“I want [students] to feel comfortable, to be able to ask questions, to learn and to join in on whatever the event might be … we want as many of our students to be educated around Native issues. It’s something that affects all people,” Brave said.