Students, faculty and community members gathered outside Stevenson Union to share in a salmon bake and talk about equity and inclusion.
According to SOU, the president of the university authorized the observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day after a student and the Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee got unanimous support for the proposal from three governing boards on campus in early 2017.
While classes are not canceld for the observation, many are welcome to join or watch through special programming and events.
But while the ceremonies and the food provide moments for those in attendance to enjoy, those coordinating the event also want to address some of the other issues many face in the U.S.
“Like clean water, like healthy earth,” said Brooke Colley, chair of Native American Studies at SOU. “To have us rethink some of our views on capitalism and colonialism.”
While the celebration was held on what is typically Columbus Day, organizers of the event say Indigenous Peoples’ Day is not meant to be an alternative. Rather, they hope it might replace Columbus Day one day.
SOU is one of several universities, four states and about 40 U.S. cities – including Ashland, Portland, Eugene and Corvallis in Oregon – that observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day.