MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Back in July, the Northern Michigan University (NMU) Board of Trustees passed a motion that officially recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ Day on campus. This effort has been a long time coming for many NMU students and faculty.
NMU held its first official Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 12, 2020, since the passing of this motion. Native American Student Association (NASA) has held the event on campus in previous years, prior to its recognition by the university.
“Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to recognize and to appreciate and honor the plight of indigenous peoples’ struggles that they have gone through,” said Bazile Panek, NASA’s president. “But it’s not only a mourning day, but it’s also a day to honor and recognize the resiliency of indigenous peoples. The resiliency to continue to adapt and practice our cultures, languages, and know about our histories. It’s a day to honor that, but also to educate others on colonization, not only in the past but also the current state of colonization that we’re living in.”
The virtual event held a drum ceremony and speakers, which included President Fritz Erickson announcing the creation of a Land Acknowledgment Task Force. Below is Erickson going into detail on what this task force is and what it will do:
“We’ll keep doing what we do. We’ll keep being indigenous people,” said Dr. Martin Reinhardt, an NMU Native American Studies professor. “We’ll keep living in our traditional homelands, and we’ll keep inviting everybody to remember that. Remember to remember where we are. And I appreciate that our university is starting to catch up to those ideas. It’s important. Land acknowledgment is an important gesture. Officiating Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an important gesture. It’s very symbolic.”
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