A recently developed club helped spark a new tradition on campus for celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The Indigenous-American Student Association, which represents the indigenous population at UF, held its first event Monday at the Reitz Union Hispanic-Latino Engagement Center. IASA played an episode from PBS’s “Native America” called “Cities of the Sky,” a special which illustrated Latin American and Native American people’s histories.
Duane and Maria Whitehorse, speakers from the Kiowa Native American tribe, discussed Native American myths, such as the origin of the title ‘Indian,’ and authentic Native American representation.
Natalia Turkel, IASA vice president, said she helped start the club to allow students to learn and talk about their roots. Turkel, a 20-year-old UF environmental science junior, is from the Ecuadorian Kichwa tribe, which she hopes to learn more about through involvement.
“This idea of Native Americans being distant, foreign and exotic is not true,” Turkel said. “I am Native American. They are your neighbors, they are your friends.”
IASA will celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November with activities including indigenous art and beading, Turkel said.
Claire Hodges, a 21-year-old UF sustainability and international studies senior, attended IASA’s first event although she doesn’t have an indigenous background because she believes in promoting the celebration of indigenous people and their cultures.
“Indigenous Peoples' Day is an opportunity to tell the authentic history of America and recognize a group of people who have been erased from their own story,” Hodges said.
Contact Meghan McGlone at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meggmcglone.
Meghan McGlone is a UF junior majoring in journalism and English, and this year she’s the City and County Commission reporter. In past years, she’s served as the University Editor, the Student Government reporter, and other positions. Her favorite past time is eating gummy worms and reading a good book.