MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Northern Michigan University’s Native American Student Association (NASA) held a ceremony at the university’s academic mall on Monday morning for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

The theme of this year’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day at NMU is “A Day of Healing and Celebration.” According to NASA, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a meaningful holiday that recognizes the past and current state of colonization for indigenous peoples.

“I really hope that the participants in the ceremony today and throughout the day kind of take away how beautiful Anishinaabe culture and language and history is and the cultures of indigenous peoples all across the world,” said Bazile Panek, president of NASA. “And recognize that indigenous peoples have been able to survive through genocide and colonialism but we’re still practicing our culture here today.”

The ceremony included drum songs and speakers. NMU’s Land Acknowledgement Task Force also unveiled a new sign in the academic mall and an educational interpretive trail. The committee was formed last year to focus on a proposal for a formal land acknowledgement of the ancestoral homelands of the Anishinaabe that is now NMU’s campus.

“We thought, how fitting would it be for this forest to have a new life? Where it actually serves as an interpretion of the Anishinaabe peopleand the things that they value in their lives? And for that reason we chose this location for this sign so that we could be an entryway into that forest and trail,” said Dan Truckey, director of Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center and chair of the Land Acknowledgement Committee.

The ceremony ended with a walk to the Center for Native American Studies’ Fire Site.

There will be an evening ceremony from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Whitman Commons with a keynote speaker, panelist discussions, and live music.

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