Native American Longhouse Eena Haws hosts Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Jaycee Kalama, News Contributor

What was once known as Columbus Day in Corvallis is now celebrated as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, as of Oct. 2017. Due to the activism of Native American students and staff, the holiday was changed on the city level and is now recognized as Indigenous Peoples’ Day campus-wide.

Indigenous people are those whose origins can be linked to the Americas and Pacific Islands, and this day is meant to recognize their unique history and culture. 

“Indigenous People’s Day is the second Monday of October, as a counter celebration to Columbus Day, it serves the purpose of celebrating the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and Pacific Islands,” Qay-liwh Ammon, a fourth-year student studying environmental sciences said.

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This Monday, there will be many events being held around campus to honor Native Americans, which will be sponsored in part by the Native American community in Corvallis.

On Monday, the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws is hosting an Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration in honor of the indigenous people of the Americas and Pacific Islands. The purpose of the NAL Eena Haws is to provide a source of support as well as honor the cultures of the first peoples of these lands. 

Columbus Day is no longer celebrated because many believe that Christopher Columbus’ exploration of the Americas had a lasting negative impact on the indigenous people living there at the time. This colonization stripped Native Americans from their land as well as killed an estimated 90 percent due foreign disease, according to the Public Broadcasting Service.

Ameyalli Mañon-Ferguson, a sixth-year student studying fisheries and wildlife sciences, helped organize the events this year, spoke of the day as a chance to commemorate those who she believes should be honored.  

“It is a day to redirect who we are choosing to honor because in many places it is still recognized as Columbus Day,” Mañon-Ferguson said. 

This Monday, many events can be found going on around campus. From 1:30 – 3 p.m., students can join indigenous artists Ka’ila Farrell Smith and Natalie Ball for an opening art reception at the Little Gallery in Kidder Hall, room 210. 

There will also be a tribal flag raising and a flag song sung by local drummers, in the Memorial Union Horizon Room at 4 p.m. This flag ceremony will be honoring the flags of the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon which include The Burns Paiute Tribe, The Confederated Tribes of Siletz and Klamath Tribes. After the ceremony these flags standing for Native tribes will be posted permanently in the MU hallway of flags.

At 5 p.m., an OSU Aztec dance, a proclamation reading and signing by Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber and a round dance will take place in the SEC plaza.

 “The history of Columbus and Indigenous people is not the happy story kids are taught and we want people to acknowledge the indigenous peoples of this land and be aware of the land they are on. Also that, we have a great community of indigenous students and community members in Corvallis,” Ammon said.

NAL Eena Haws encourages everyone to remember and celebrate the many indigenous people who have traditionally lived and currently live in the United States as well as its territories, on this holiday. 

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to celebrate and honor the indigenous peoples of the Americas and not only the past, but also the living legacies of the future of indigenous peoples,” Assistant Director of the NAL Eena Haws, Luhui Whitebear said.

It’s important to note that this day isn’t exclusive to Native American identifying students. Mañon-Ferguson stresses that everyone is welcome to these events.

“It’s a day for everyone to come and celebrate and recognize the fact that this is the first time that the flags of the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon will be put up on campus,” Mañon-Ferguson said. 

The flag ceremony will be a historic moment on campus this year, according to Luhui Whitebear.

These events are sponsored by the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws in partnership with Oregon’s tribal sovereign nations and the city of Corvallis.