By Matthew Ahuja
This last week from Friday Oct. 11 to Friday Oct. 18 was Indigenous Peoples Week at Humboldt State. A week which is a direct response to Columbus Day, the term “Indigenous Peoples Week” comes from “Indigenous Peoples Day” a name adopted by many as a more appropriate title for the holiday. The week consisted of lectures, open discussions, film screenings and other events all aimed at educating and facilitating a dialogue concerning indigenous people of the Americas. the presentations range from lighthearted discussion of culture to controversial, critical, topics of heated dialogue.
During the screening of “Reel Injun” on Oct. 16, which took place at HSU’s Native American Forum, a group of students and faculty were shown a film about the depiction of Native Americans and Indigenous peoples in the Film Industry. The film illustrated how ideas about Native Americans were perpetuated and how these ideas hurt the culture they are trying to preserve.
Joseph Giovannetti, 63, a professor of Native American Studies helped lead the discussion after the film ended.
“Little kids decide they don’t want to be Indian, because of [misrepresentations] like that,” Giovannetti said when referring to the ways in which native peoples are thought of as by the media and popular culture. Giovantetti was specifically referring to ideas of Indigenous peoples being savage or prone to violence, ideas perpetuated through westerns and other facets of the film industry.
On Oct. 18, Professor of Native American Studies Rain Marshall gave her presentation on philosophy and thought of the Lakota people. The lecture described how Lakota culture revolves around ideas of spirituality, nature, connectivity and consciousness.
“There is a circle relationship between us and the world,” Marshall said.” In Lakota philosophy there is equality.”
The presentation also touched on environmental consciousness, activism and caring for the environment, a philosophy deeply ingrained in Lakota thought, according to Marshall.
“[The] presentation was powerful,” said Brian Vargas , 19, an engineering student at HSU and a student of professor Marshall.” I hope this makes people think about the individual and how they affect everything around them”
Indigenous Peoples Week may be over but it is not the only event of its kind. In November HSU will host its “Dialogue on Race” another week long series of events aimed at creating a discussion between people.