Indigenous Peoples Day celebration embraces culture | New
Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated at Titan Walk on Monday with performances, vendors, speakers and clubs showcasing Indigenous culture.
California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed October 10 as Indigenous Peoples Day statewide to honor the rich diversity and contributions of Indigenous peoples. Cal State Fullerton’s celebration was coordinated by Jorge Contreras, the Program Coordinator for Native and Indigenous Peoples under the Vice President of Student Affairs.
Benjamin Hale, a member of the Navajo Nation, gave a speech and dance that focused on his family’s origins and how his people fought to keep their language, life, ceremonies and celebrations alive.
Hale spoke about the lack of American Indian history education in schools and how the courses that exist consist of culturally and historically insensitive information. He ended his speech with two dances, including a Native American swan dance with his two young daughters.
Another show was performed by Danza Azteca Xochipilli, a group that celebrates dance traditions in Native American and Mexican cultures.
OneDrumm, a band dedicated to sharing stories of healing, triumph, love and resilience through the beat of the drum, performed at the ceremony. According to the OneDrumm website, the drum is recognized as the heartbeat of Indigenous culture and is honored as a form of spiritual connection.
The final performance was HaLau Hula a Kawika Iaua Oh Leinani, a Polynesian dance group that showcases dance from Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, New Zealand and Tonga.
Event vendor Elena’s Creations sold traditional handmade jewelry, while Brown Hands Create sold pottery and art. Traditional bags, jewelry and art were available at Omeyacan Art.
Hungry guests could eat traditional Indian bread, burgers and tacos from Lucy Hale’s Indian Tacos, or try traditional Mexican dishes like mulitas and chilaquiles from Tlacopan Cocina Mexicana.
Among the main CSUF organizations present were the Intertribal Student Council, the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan and Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.
“A lot of young people are starting to embrace their Indigenous roots and connect to them a bit more,” Contreras said.
There will be a few webinars and workshops over the next few months, including a workshop with Titan Wellness discussing how to decolonize your diet and a collaboration with the Latinx Community Resource Center where a Mayan elder will talk about Mayan cosmology and traditional beverages with cocoa. There is a Native American Heritage Festival coming up on November 14, focusing more on American Indians and Native Americans in the United States.
CSUF currently does not have a resource center dedicated to Indigenous and Indigenous students.