Joe Gaskill, Contributor
Boozhoo (Greetings) my fellow students, staff, faculty and relatives. My name is Joe Gaskill, the 2019-2020 president of Augsburg Indigenous Student Association (AISA). I greet you all in the Anishinaabeg language as one of the original people of this land. Along with other culturally significant celebrations and months November celebrates Native American Heritage Month.
In talking about this month, it is imperative that we think about the original people who have inhabited, thrived, and existed on this land before colonization, before Augsburg, before Minneapolis, and acknowledge the stolen land of the Dakota people we stand on. Acknowledging the forgotten histories of all Native, Indigenous, and Original people and acknowledging our people who are thriving and existing today; in resistance to our planned extinction from the power and effects of colonization. In celebration of this month for Native American and Indigenous peoples, we must recognize, honor and acknowledge these truths that are often marginalized and pushed under the rug to satisfy the checkmark of diversity. The phrase “students of color” is often used as a blanket term for us, which generalizes the unique complexity of all of our cultures and experiences.
We as AISA are celebrating this month by hosting events throughout the year to engage our less-than-5% of Indigenous students on campus and to show the student body that we are still here. This month in particular, we are hosting four events next week to celebrate Native students and all students who wish to join us. The first will be called Indigenous Games on Tuesday November 12th, in the Student Lounge from 5pm-7 pm. The second event is on November 13th and is called “Ayy Victor! A showing of the film Smoke Signals”. This event will take place in Science 123 in collaboration with ASAC, with snacks and a surprise for our active members. Our third event on November 14th is called Indigenous Food; we will be testing our skills in the Food Lab in Hagfors 108 from 7pm-9 pm, having fun making some indigenous dishes that we can eat. Our final event, on November 15th, will be a tabiling session called Indigenous Jeopardy, where you can test your knowledge and possibly win a prize from 11am-3pm. If you are interested in any of our events, look out for our posters hanging around campus! Also, for any of our events, if you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please call the University Events Department at 612.330.1104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org in advance.
We hope to see many new and returning faces on our campus come on through to support this week celebrating Native American Heritage Month. And even if you cannot come and participate, remember to recognize, honor and acknowledge Indigenous students and people on campus, as well as all diverse bodies our campus provides a home for. Happy Native American Heritage Month everyone!
This article was originally published in the November 8, 2019 issue.