WHAT IS THE IMPORTANCE OF NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH?
By Michael Abler, Staff Writer
Throughout November, George Mason University will host a series of events — including one that occurred on Monday Oct. 30 — to celebrate Native American heritage. The events will focus on indigenous culture, talking about the past and the need for diversity.
In a nation divided over political views and ethnicities, celebrating other cultures and their respective ancestors can be even more important than ever. But is it becoming more important than it was before?
Kylie Stamm, the assistant director of Mason’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education group feels that celebrating one’s heritage is, “important because it impacts who we are, and every single culture have a rich history that can teach us a lot of things, there’s always something to learn.”
“We are currently preparing for this upcoming month by planning and organizing this month’s upcoming events. One of which occurs next Tuesday at 7 p.m., there’s an event at the Hub (meeting rooms three and four) that discusses these particular aspects of heritage, there are at least three more events that take place this month for the heritage month,” said Stamm.
Native Americans account for only 0.14% of the students attending Mason, according to the ODIME’s website, making them the smallest ethnic group on GMU’s campus. Some of these 53 individuals are, “very engaged in our school’s activities,” according to Stamm, although, she also said that, “this statement is only based on the few student leaders that I directly work with as a part of my job.”
There are about five of these culture clubs on our campus, (Native American, African American, Asian/Pacific American, Hispanic/Latino, and Middle Eastern/North African) and they are all connected to ODIME, and they each have their respective months of celebration. These groups also have one representative you can contact via email, which can be found on ODIME’s website.
As far as the statement about celebrating heritage now being more significant in today’s society, Stamm feels strongly that, “while I understand the logic behind that statement, I believe, that it has always important to celebrate diversity and one’s heritage,” adding that, “The current times just magnify the importance of this idea, it doesn’t make this celebration more important or less important than it was before.”
In a country like ours that preaches the idea of equality for all, this is an important lesson to learn, especially when it comes to creating a peaceful coexistence for everybody in our future.
Monday, November 6th- Sage Bundling Ceremony
SUB 1, Suite 2400
Join NAIA for demonstration on how to wrap sage bundles.
Wednesday, November 8th- The “T” Word Therapy
SUB 1 Room 4210
Discuss the barriers that inhibit racial and ethnic minorities
Thursday, November 9th- Activism and Free Speech
SUB 1, Suite 2400
Dr. Dennis Webster will discuss the value of advocacy, constitutional protections, state and campus policies associated with activism and freedom of expression, and legal rights
Tuesday, November 14- Faculty Lecture: Reclaiming Historical Narratives
The HUB, Meeting Rooms 3 & 4
Join Dr. Genetin-Pilawa for a presentation and discussion about “comfortable factions” in U.S. culture and what we can learn if view these stories with fresh eyes.
Wednesday, November 15th- Film Screening: When Two Worlds Collide
An indigenous environmental activist from Peru takes on the large businesses that are destroying the Indigenous Amazon for the extraction of oil, mineral, and gas.
Wednesday, November 29th- Celebrating Resistance: The Power of Our Roots
Doors Open 6:30
JC Dewberry Hall
Join us in our closing celebration of Indigenous heritage with food, dialogue, and music by Indigenous DJ’s. They will be speaking on the injustices against Indigenous communities.
Photos Courtesy of Morgan McCarthy