List of local events and a recap of Indigenous Peoples Day at NDSU with Wiishkobizi Nibi Ikwe (to be sweet like the water women), Christy Goulet.
November marks the annual celebration of National Native American Heritage month, a time to honor the history and culture of Indigenous peoples. The North Dakota State University, Indigenous Association and Indigenous Legacy will be hosting multiple events and activities throughout the month for the community to learn, participate in and celebrate.
Students, faculty and other community members can attend the following campus events to celebrate Native American Heritage month:
NDSU will be hosting an opening session Wed, Nov. 2, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union (MU) Sahnish room. Willard Yellow Bird (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation member), Hollie Mackie (Northern Cheyenne) and Michael Gabbard (Delaware) will provide a welcome song and an honor song for all students. Also, community members are welcome to take photos and walk in the tipi by Babbling Brook that day.
On Tues, Nov. 15 from noon to 1 p.m., Master of Public Health student Carissa Brown Otter (Standing Rock and Dine) will present survey results from research with the Native American population of Fargo-Moorhead Area.
.Christy Goulet (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) and Theodore Menge (White Earth) will host a dream catchers and hemp bracelets making session on Thurs, Nov. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the MU Meadow Lark room.
For a presentation on the history of Native American Thanksgiving by Joy Annette (White Earth), go to the MU Sanhnish room on Mon, Nov. 21, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Recap of Indigenous Peoples Day at NDSU
Last month, the NDSU Office of Multicultural Programs invited local historian and storyteller, Wiishkobizi Nibi Ikwe (to be sweet like the water women), Christy Goulet, to honor Indigenous Peoples Day on campus.
Goulet, a tribally enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, strives for cultural preservation and is grateful to live a traditional Indigenous lifestyle that she teaches to younger generations and her family.
She was adopted by Wanbli Ishnala Win/Anna LittleGhost and went through a ceremonial rite of passage, which includes Sundance (17 years), Vision Quest (seven times), naming ceremony, and completion of Lakota/Dakota/Nakota ceremonies.
According to an article from The Bemidji Pioneer in 2015, the Fargo City Commission abolished Columbus Day as a city-observed holiday and replaced it with Indigenous Peoples Day.
The resolution passed 4-1 and cited the “brutal history” of Christopher Columbus and supporters of the resolution said it corrected the flawed historical account of the man who ‘sailed the ocean blue in 1492.’
“The changing of Columbus Day, to Indigenous Peoples Day, allows the recognition of the gifts and the talents that lie within the Indigenous culture,” said Goulet. “Indigenous Peoples Day gives us a day to showcase our talents, our gifts, but also, you know, the issues that are critical to be looking at, and problem solving.”
At the event, students helped set up a tipi and listened to the history of the Indigenous culture.
“It was good to be able to show individuals the process of setting up the tipi, and then have the youth involved,” said Goulet.” I brought six of my grandchildren to actively participate.”
To make the tarp for the tipi, Goulet explained that the process usually involved skinning the hide of buffalo and then sewing the hides together. But for that day, canvas was used for the tarp of the tipi.
“It’s shifted a little bit and we use canvas today. It still represents the housing that was efficient. If we could quickly put them up and quickly take them down, that was the goal,” said Goulet. “We have to follow our food resources, so when the buffalo moved, we moved in the summertime. The camps were always near water, and in the winter, we would go to a different camp.”
Goulet says that Indigenous Peoples Day also allows the discussion of the dark history that is often not spoken about.
“People become enlightened by hearing other people’s stories,” said Goulet. “And when they hear the stories of genocide and ethnic cleansing, oftentimes they stop and say, ‘Whoa, that might have been one of my relatives.’ It stirs up the first emotion, denial, then comes anger, then acceptance. It’s almost like the process of grief. A lot of times, people are unwilling to accept the truth of how the founding of this country happened. Because then they feel like they have to take responsibility for a role that an ancestor might have participated in. And they have guilt and shame associated with that. But if we don’t learn to process that, and not allow it to boil into rage and anger, where we see levels of violence today, then we are emotionally crippled as a community or society.”
Students that attended the event spoke with Goulet and spoke of their “anger” towards the education system because they didn’t receive a fair or truthful perspective of history.
“I have an interesting story that happened probably about a month and a half ago,” said Goulet. “My youngest grandson, a third grader, came home from school with a packet on Abraham Lincoln. He had to read the story, and then answer the questions about Lincoln. I was helping him with his homework and the very last question said, ‘What is Abraham Lincoln most notable for?’ I told my grandson ‘in the morning, Lincoln signed the Proclamation of Emancipation, which gave African American people in this country, their civil rights. But that afternoon, he signed the largest mass hanging of Indigenous (Dakota) people at Mankato, MN that very same day!’ That’s what I had my grandson write on his paper, and I told my son, ‘let’s see what kind of response we get from the teacher.’ He got 100 [percent] on his worksheet.”
Follow Christy Goulet and attend more events off campus to celebrate Native American Heritage month:
Dreamcatcher Workshop on Wed, Nov 4th at the Fertile, MN Public Library from 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Free and open to the public as part of the Legacy Event Series/ Lake Agassiz Regional Library.
Minnesota State Community and Technical College Tues, Nov. 9th at 11 A.M.-1:00 P.M.
Goulet will be speaking on Murdered, Missing Indigenous Issues. Free and open to the public.
West Fargo Public Library on Tues, Nov. 15 from 6:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M.
Panel discussion “The Real Thanksgiving”. This event is free and open to the public.
For more local events, visit the Indigenous Association’s Facebook page.