By | Robert Brown
The American Indian community of HSU hosted the 24th annual Indigenous People’s Week from Oct. 9 thru Oct. 16, with many free events held on campus.
The eight day event began on Monday, Oct. 9, with a celebration on the Quad. Throughout the week, workshops, film screenings, a community-building reception and cultural sharing events were held around campus. Professors of the Native American Studies program hosted the event, as well as guest speakers from the Seventh Generation Fund, and Native American activist YoNasDa LoneWolf Hill.
An Indigenous Voices Forum titled, “Columbus, The Doctrine of Discovery and Indigenous People’s Rights,” hosted by HSU Professor Cutcha Risling Baldy, and Lorna Bryant from Race Beat on KHSU was held in the Kate Buchanan Room on Wednesday night. HSU Professors Marlon Sherman and Kayla Begay, Chris Peters and Tia Oros-Peters of the Seventh Generation Fund, and Cynthia Boshell of the Environment and Community program at HSU took part in a discussion on the Doctrine of Discovery and how it continues to impact society to this day.
“Columbus is a figment of people’s imagination,” Oros-Peters said. “He is a construct of a dominating colonizing society that’s become a caricature of what the aspiration of colonization is. He is used as a weapon against people’s minds and their capacity to think freely.”
“Columbus is part of this nation’s origin story, Columbus Day is really a celebration of White supremacy, Christian superiority, the genocide of indigenous people. The state needs to erase indigenous people in order to legitimize its claim of sovereignty over us.”
A reception was held on campus Thursday to honor Native American women who have notoriously been murdered at more than 10 times the national average. Participants were asked to wear red in honor of the missing and dead indigenous women.
“Indigenous women have remained for more than 500 years, the most targeted, exploited, trafficked, raped, murdered, tortured, brutalized, and torn apart group of people on the face of this planet,” Oros-Peters said. “We are the embodiment of Mother Earth. The assault against indigenous women is how they treat the Earth. We are the echo of the Earth within our bodies, and she within us.”
“Columbus began the sex trafficking trade in America, he gave women away as slaves and prostitutes,” Sherman said.
Also on Thursday, a conversation with YoNasDa LoneWolf Hill was held in the Behavioral & Social Sciences building. Hill is a Lakota and African-American activist, speaker, and published writer of social and environmental justice issues. She was adopted and raised by Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.
“The truth is coming out, and the truth hurts, everyone is looking at the truth. There is a separation of good and evil taking place at this time,” Hill said.
“Women are at the heart of this movement, as mothers, we feel pain, we bear pain when we give birth,” Hill said. “Even if you’re not able to give birth, you still feel it in your blood. It’s all in everything that we are made of as women. In this way, we connect with and feel Mother Earth.”