Native American Student Association hosts Indigenous Peoples’ Day ceremonies

Photo courtesy to Native American Student Association

Photo courtesy to Native American Student Association

Ayanna Allen, Staff Writer

Northern Michigan University’s Native American Student Association will be hosting their annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day event on Oct. 11. 

The celebration will be held in the academic mall with hopes to recognize colonization, celebrate fortitude and reclaim indigeneity. 

The morning ceremony will have music from local band Morning Thunder and will unveil the new Land Acknowledgement sign near McClintock. In the evening there will be several speakers in the Whitman Hall commons. 

NASA has often hosted programming for Indigenous Peoples’ day in past years. However, NMU’s Board of Trustees only recently passed the motion to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day in July 2020 after several months of planning between NASA and past ASNMU president Emma Drever. 

The holiday has significant importance to NMU’s location as the university was built on Anishinaabe land, after the land was coerced from the local peoples via the Treaty of 1842. To acknowledge the land on which the university was built, the unveiling of the new sign will take place during the morning ceremony.

“The Land Acknowledgement Sign is a physical piece on campus that recognizes that NMU is on Anishinaabe territory and it creates a more inclusive campus environment for all,” Bazile Panek, president of NASA and senior, said. 

This year’s morning and evening ceremonies will both be entirely in person due to relaxed COVID-19 restrictions.  

The theme this year is “A Day of Healing and Celebration” in light of the pandemic. Speakers and panelists at both ceremonies will be discussing how COVID-19 has impacted them as indigenous people or allies and how NMU only recently decided to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day, said Panek. 

Speakers to expect for the morning ceremony include professor Grace Challier, senior student Bazile Panek and other students, faculty and staff. For the evening ceremony, there will be a panelist discussion with Danny J. Garceu, director of Society of American Indian Government Employees, and Amber Morseau, director of NMU’s Center for Native American Studies

Student’s that want to join in the activities are able to RSVP on the hub: here for the morning ceremony and here for the evening. Panek expressed that the event was open to everyone and as long as members of the community come with an open mind and heart, they will be welcomed. 

If students are unable to attend, there are other ways to help and support our indigenous communities. 

“Take some Native American Studies courses here at NMU, and you’ll learn how to best support Indigenous communities. Attend other educational events hosted by Indigenous organizations. Read books by Indigenous authors! Educate yourself first, and then you can appropriately find your call to action to support Indigenous communities,” said Panek. 

To join NASA and stay up to date on native happenings, register here on the hub.