The Dennis Small Cultural Center held a celebration on Oct. 9 for Indigenous Peoples’ Day at the University Memorial Center. Students and faculty attended to learn about and talk to members of the Indigenous community at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The celebration hosted a raffle for books by Indigenous authors, introduced attendees and brought awareness to Indigenous events on campus. This week, there will also be a discussion with the Native American director Tsanavi Spoonhunter alongside a screening of her film “Crow County” on Oct. 10 and an honoring of Indigenous food sovereignty on Oct. 11.
Oyate, a Native American student organization at CU Boulder, tabled at the celebration, advertising their biweekly meetings and upcoming community events, such as a powwow that will be organized for the spring.
“We’re trying to get a policy for all Native and Indigenous students so that Oyate can have an office on campus permanently,” said Alexis Gonzales, coordinator for cultural programs at the Center for Student Involvement.
Gonzales introduced a video about the Center for Native American and Indigenous Studies, detailing how the center functions as a support and community space for Indigenous communities and studies. The center offers a certificate program for undergraduate and graduate students focused on Indigenous sovereignty, identity and community.
Deelia Sherman, a member of Oyate, spoke on the motivation to get involved with the Indigenous community at CU Boulder, “I just wanted to find a Native community on campus. I also enjoy the activism aspect and the cultural awareness [within Oyate].”
Evie Clarke, a biomedical engineering student and the president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society at CU Boulder, talked with Oyate leaders about upcoming events and cultural celebrations.
“I think that one of the biggest challenges is that being in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, we tend to be pretty isolated from the rest of campus,” Clarke said. “But then we’re able to connect with groups like Oyate, and it really helps us expand our own club.”
Clarke said her organization’s goals were about “bridging the gap between Native Americans and the STEM industry in general.” She said that it was part of their mission to help Indigenous students stay connected to their culture as they entered a more Western industry.
For non-Indigenous students wanting to support the Indigenous community, Sherman said, “Keep attending events like this.”
Contact breaking news editor Ann Marie Vanderveen at firstname.lastname@example.org.