The Fort Lewis College Native American Center has organized numerous events for Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2019 intended to celebrate different cultural perspectives and raise awareness for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women movement.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is still nationally recognized as Columbus Day, while various municipalities nationwide have changed the day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in recent years.
Simon Chief, assistant director of the Native American Center, said he hopes to bring the Native American and Alaskan Native community together and show that there is a unity in the population.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an opportunity to acknowledge the Native American perspective of the history of the Americas and honor the cultures here before Columbus landed in the Americas, Chief said.
Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW), a movement that started to gain traction this past year, will be the theme of this years Indigenous’ Peoples Day.
This movement advocates for the justice of the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women.
Students are encouraged to wear red in solidarity for these indigenous women.
“In various tribes, red is known to be the only color spirits see,” Chief said. “It’s hope that by wearing red, we can call back the missing spirits of our women and children.”
The film, Dance Me Outside, a 1994 Canadian drama examining the tensions between Natives and Anglos, will be a feature of this year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
This film was chosen due to its ability to bring to light many other issues the Indigenous people encounter, Chief said. It can be used as an avenue to show that MMIW is not the only challenge that Natives face back home.
There will also be a cedar bracelet and earring making workshop, which Chief aims to showcase the creative side of Indigenous tribes, he said. These articles of cultural significance will also serve to support the MMIW cause.
“There’s the ability to tell the story behind it, beyond Indigenous Peoples’ Day, beyond just this one event, but also the opportunity in creating a venue to educate on a continuous basis,” Chief said.
All FLC community members are welcome and encouraged to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Schedule of events:
8 a.m. in the Native American Center Conference Room
10:30 a.m. Meet in front of the Center of Southwest Studies
11 a.m. located in the Student Union
Film Screening: Dance Me Outside
12:30 p.m. in the Native American Center
Cedar Bracelet and Earring Making Workshop
1:30 p.m. in the Student Union