USA Diversity Committee Celebrates Indigenous People’s Month by Handing out Pins
By Julian Reynoso, News Reporter
The Undergraduate Student Association’s (USA) Diversity Committee gave out free pins to students that read “You are on Native Land” on Wednesday to celebrate Indigenous People’s Month.
Mylan Hawkins, chair of the committee, purchased 45 pins from a Native-owned business in San Francisco named Urban Native Era. Hawkins set up a table in the library with a small presentation consisting of seven slides to show people who walked by how to properly acknowledge the fact that Canisius rests on land owned by the Haudenosaunee tribe, which is part of the Iroquois Confederacy.
The most important slides in the presentation demonstrated how to properly acknowledge that the land viewers were on was originally owned by Indigenous people. The slides explained that there are several resources that are available to help people acknowledge this fact, and that it is best to do it at the start of public social gatherings and events similar to those.
The slides also showed an explanation of where Canisius is located in the area of land that the Haudenosaunee tribe owned. She noted that one difficulty when trying to find the accuracy of what tribe owned what land in history is that much of Native American history was passed down orally rather than documented in written format. The issue that arises from this is proving exactly when this tribe acquired the land that Canisius resides on.
Hawkins said that the reason she chose to do this for Indigenous People’s Month is because “I have realized that there have not been many events on campus that recognize Indigenous People’s Month, and I thought an event like this would be the perfect opportunity for people to get an introduction to territory acknowledgement.”
The event was successful, with all of the pins having been handed out before it was even supposed to end. Hawkins often heard students say that they did not know that Canisius rested on land owned by Indigenous people. What Hawkins enjoyed most was hearing so many students show that they learned something new because of what she planned. Hawkins appreciated that students were happy to have pins that reflected a message she wants more people on campus to hear.