NSU recognizes Indigenous People’s Day
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Campus News

NSU recognizes Indigenous People’s Day

Published 10/5/17

Trista Vaughn

TNE Writer

Last year, Dr. Steve Turner, NSU president, declared NSU will no longer acknowledge Columbus Day. Turner has declared the second Monday of each October Indigenous People's Day on campus.

Indigenous People’s Day recognizes all Native American tribes around the world. It gives an opportunity to Native Americans from all over the world to unite as one.

Dr. Samantha Benn-Duke, curriculum and instructing assistant professor, was named 2017 Oklahoma Indian Educator of the Year.

“Indigenous People's Day to me means a day when we honor our ancestors and their accomplishments, their ways of living, their perspectives and their relationships with Earth,” said Benn-Duke. “It is also a time when we appreciate those in today's society, those who work to make the world a better place for others and to carry on tradition and language. It means a time to celebrate and express ourselves as native people.”

Sky Wildcat, former Miss Cherokee 2016-2017 and NSU graduate student,  said she is happy NSU is celebrating Indigenous People’s Day.

Native Americans were here long before Columbus or anyone came to what we know as America,” said Wildcat. “For NSU, an institution with approximately 35 percent Native American student population, to recognize this day means our population can set a standard for other universities.”

Kayli Gonzales, Welling senior, takes pride in her Native American heritage and believes being Native American means knowing the history of indigenous people.

“I didn’t really start learning or even wanting to learn about my heritage until I got into college, so it’s not too late for people to start,” said Gonzales. “It’s never too late to get involved.”

NSU offers resources on campus for Native Americans that provide support for improving academic effectiveness, enhancing the quality of student experiences, initiating scholarly activities, bridging communication between tribal nations and the university and enriching the cultural heritage of the NSU community. These resources are offered by the Center for Tribal Studies, located on the second floor in the the John Vaughan Library.

Indigenous People’s Day is Monday, Oct. 9.

The first event to celebrate the day begins at 5:30 p.m. at Cherokee Capital Square in Downtown Tahlequah. The Indigenous Peoples Walk follows at 6 p.m. The Host Drum with traditional songs will begin at 6:45 p.m.

At 7 p.m., keynote speaker SunHawk Hill will be at Second Century Square. To end Indigenous People’s day, there is an intertribal/stompdance at 8 p.m.

For more information about the events, email the Center of Tribal Studies at tribalstudies@nsuok.edu.

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