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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Indigenous groups organize a week of events commemorating Indigenous Peoples’ Day

From Oct. 9 to 12, Native Americans at Dartmouth and the Native American Program will host a midnight drumming circle, a demonstration on the Green and a fashion show, among other events.

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In celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 9, Native Americans at Dartmouth and the Native American Program will host a series of events to commemorate Indigenous culture, history and sovereignty from Oct. 9 to 12.

The events will commence on Oct. 9 at midnight with a drumming circle, an event that has occurred annually for the past 20 years on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. At noon, there will be a demonstration of various Indigenous cultures on the Green. According to NAD historian and member of the Navajo Tribe Emma Tsosie ’25, these events include an opportunity for participants to speak on the Green and write messages on posters displayed around the Green in their tribal languages. 

“Having a visual representation with the demonstration on Monday of what the community looks like reasserts that we’re still here, and that we’re a powerful community,” she said. 

On Oct. 11, NAD and the Hood Museum of Art is hosting “A Space for Dialogue” gallery Talk” with Moonoka Begay ’23 GR, where she will discuss the work of contemporary North American “two-spirit” artists. Two-spirit is a term used in several Indigenous cultures to denote people who possess both masculine and feminine spirits. In addition, on Oct. 13, Cree artist Kent Monkman will visit to discuss his journey of exploring historic and contemporary Indigenous experiences, in an event titled “The Dr. Allen W. Root Contemporary Art Lectureship: Kent Monkman.” 

On Oct. 12, NAD, the Hood Museum of Art, Hōkūpa’a, Dartmouth’s Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander student group and the NAP will host their fifth annual fashion show. The fashion show includes a mask-design competition, where Indigenous students will make masks inspired by their Indigenous culture and community.  

According to NAD co-president Raylen Bark ’24, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is both a time of “mourning” and “remembering,” as the date coincides with Chistopher Columbus Day. Bark said Columbus committed “countless” atrocities against Indigenous peoples.  

“Unfortunately for Indigenous people, Columbus is not the same person that other Americans think he is,” she said. “It’s time to spread the truth, shed some light and take back that narrative to show everyone that we’re still here.” 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day occurs annually on the second Monday of October and celebrates Indigenous history and recognizes the value and resilience of Indigenous communities, according to New York Times reporting. President Biden formally recognized Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2021 through a proclamation. Current bicameral legislation has been introduced, which would replace Christopher Columbus Day as a federal holiday with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, according to a press release from Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore.

NAP director Adria Brown ’15 added that Dartmouth is a place with a “long” history related to Indigenous peoples. According to the College’s charter, which was written in 1769, the College was created “for the education and instruction of youth of the Indian tribes in this land in reading, writing and all parts of learning which shall appear necessary and expedient for civilizing and christianizing children of pagans.” 

According to Brown, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a special time for Indigenous people to honor   “true diversity,” as the undergraduate Indigenous community comprises around 200 students representing 70 different Indigenous communities.

“As an alum, I participated in these events back then,” Brown said. “This week is always really special to me because it’s a moment of feeling how strong the community is and feeling our support for one another and care for one another.”