Indigenous Peoples Day, first proposed in 1977 by the International Conference on Discrimination Against the Indigenous Population in the Americas, is held on the second Monday of October to honor the past, present and future of Native peoples throughout the country. It is intended to be a time of reflection and to learn about Indigenous histories and cultures.
“There are 52 Tribal Nations with ancestral ties to the land that is present-day Indiana,” says James C. Wimbush, vice president for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (OVPDEI) and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “I encourage students, faculty and the entire IU community to approach this day as a learning opportunity and time to honor the many contributions that Indigenous people have made to Indiana and the nation.”
On October 9, Indiana University will hold several events recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day to honor the lives and contributions that Indigenous, Native American and First Nations peoples have made throughout history, our nation, our culture and our society.
One such event includes a collaboration between IU Bloomington’s First Nations Educational & Cultural Center, Union Board, Native American and Indigenous Studies and Kelley Office of Diversity Initiatives to present a day of activities for Indigenous Peoples Day! The schedule includes Ryan Singer (Navajo Nation) presenting his work in Indigenous Futurism from 12:30 until 2 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union Frangipani Room, followed by live painting at the Food Court Stage area until 5 p.m.; a Native crafts vendor at the Starbucks Stage from 12:30 until 5 p.m.; Reservation Dogs streaming all day at the stage area and much more.
"It's been nearly 50 years since Indigenous Peoples Day was proposed to honor our Native people," says Sherene Goatson Ing (Dine), director of the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center, "and it's wonderful to celebrate the cultures indigenous to these lands and to know that Native peoples continue their cultures and their relationship with the land.”
You can view these and other events scheduled on October 9 at events.iu.edu.
Commitment to the Work
More than programming, a core component of being a diverse and inclusive institution is its many collaboration efforts in support of student success and opportunity.
On Friday, October 6, 2023, IU Bloomington announced a new scholarship program for Indigenous students. The scholarship includes covering the direct cost of attendance, plus books and supplies, as well as student success support programming for four years.
In 2021, IU established a formal partnership with the Quapaw Nation, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe and the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites to complete the repatriation and reburial of more than 700 individual remains unearthed beginning in the 1930s from the Angel Mounds National Historic Landmark and State Historic Site in Evansville, Indiana.
Before this work, OVPDEI and the First Nations Educational & Cultural Center joined to create the First Nations Leadership Ambassadors Council.
Officially launched in 2017, the council provides a way to strengthen the connection to and gain insight from the Native American community. Specifically, the effort creates an ongoing dialogue between IU and individuals representing the Tribes with historical and ongoing ties to present-day Indiana.
Members of the FNLAC include Ben Barnes, chief of the Shawnee Tribe; Glenna Wallace, chief of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe; Nicky Michael, tribal council member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and executive director of Indigenous Studies and Curriculum at Bacone College; Richie Meyers, Ph.D., tribal relations specialist for Black Hills National Forest under USDA Forestry; Scott Shoemaker, Ph.D., program officer of Native Arts and Cultures for the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies and Kelli Mosteller, Ph.D., executive director of Harvard University Native American Programs.
As part of its charge, the FNLAC council also helps recruit and retain more Native students and faculty; increases scholarship and financial aid opportunities for Native students and provides services that enable the institution to form better relationships with the Native community.