Indigenous Peoples Day was first proposed in 1977 during a United Nations conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas. Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America. By 1990, movements to formalize Indigenous Peoples or Native American Day gained momentum. The movement continues to expand present day with formalized recognitions across states, cities and organizations throughout the U.S., including universities and schools.
WSU acknowledges that its locations statewide are on the homelands of Native peoples, who have lived in this region from time immemorial. WSU has a formal memorandum of understanding to increase access for Native American students, faculty and staff; recognize Native American achievements specifically at the university; and strengthen the relationship between the university and sovereign tribal nations. Currently, there are 42 tribes, 35 of which are federally recognized that share traditional homelands and waterways in what is now Washington state. The agreement remains open for inclusion of additional sovereign tribal nations.
The WSU Office of Tribal Relations and Native American Programs provides guidance in relationships with tribes and services to Native American students and communities. WSU has pledged that these relationships will consist of mutual trust, respect and reciprocity. In 2018, WSU President, Kirk Schulz, issued a proclamation that instituted the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day at Washington State University. This is reinforced by the above memorandum of understanding and reflects the disposition of Indigenous lands by coercive and violent means, and, in Southwest Washington, the absence of a treaty.
WSU Vancouver celebrates Indigenous People’s Day. WSU Vancouver is located in the homeland of Chinookan and Taidnapam peoples and the Cowlitz Indian Tribe. On this day, the WSU Office of Tribal Relations, WSU Native American Programs and WSU Vancouver Native American Affairs will host a series of events to mark Indigenous Peoples' Day. WSU Vancouver will also hold space on this day to discuss lived experiences of and support strategies for Native American/Alaska Native students. WSU Vancouver alumni and members of WSU Vancouver's Native American Community Advisory Board will facilitate this space. For more information about these events, visit the events page and click on the event.
Upcoming Events at Vancouver:
“Coming Home to Nez Perce Country: Restoring the Wetzuuwiitin' Collection”
4 – 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6
Attend via Zoom.
Speakers: Nakia Williamson-Cloud, Nez Perce Cultural Resources Director; Tabitha Erdey, WSU grad and Nez Perce National Park Integrated Resource Manager; Kristine Leier, Nez Perce National Park Curator; and Trevor Bond, WSU Pullman.
“WSU Vancouver and the Native American Community”
12:30 – 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, Dengerink Administration Building, Room 129
Attend via Zoom or in person.
Join the WSU Vancouver Native American Community Advisory Board Members and Alumna Indigenous Peoples Day forum.
“Why Environmental History Matters: A Case Study in Washington State’s Indigenous Laws”
4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19
Register to attend the Zoom presentation
Join WSU Vancouver Library in the second installment of the series, “Our Communities: Actions Towards Justice,” as we hear from WSU Vancouver alumna Kay Hall. Hall will be discussing, in part, her undergraduate podium presentation, “State v. Towessnute and State v. Meninock: State Conservation and Indigenous Rights,” which won first place in last year’s Research Showcase at WSU Vancouver.
Modern Native America and Environmental Justice: Changing the Narrative of our American Moment
Noon – 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, Dengerink Administration Building, Room 110
Zoom link TBA.
Speaker: David Treuer, Ojibwe author of National Book Award finalist, “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee.”
Southwest Washington Equity Coalition Teach-In Series: "Food Sovereignty: Bringing Equitable Food Practices to the Table”
10:30 a.m. – noon Friday, Oct. 29
Explore local food systems that work with our communities to regain the distinct nature of our own food supply system that is sustainable, eco-friendly and honors the land that grew the food.
Speakers: Emma Johnson, Cowlitz WSU Vancouver grad, Portland State University MA program; Alyssa Fine, Cowlitz Tribal Wellness; Nora Frank-Buckner, NW Tribal Food Coalition; Ed Hamilton Rosales, SW WA LULAC; Layla Afu, Pacific Islander Community Association; and Joseph Seia, Pacific Islander Community Association. Tickets available at Southwest Washington Equity Coalition website.