NDSU celebrates National Hispanic History Month

Various events are happening to celebrate Hispanic history, culture and traditions

Students playing Lotería during the Latin Game Night at NDSU. Photo Courtesy | Hayden Austin

North Dakota State University is holding a series of events to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. This month celebrates the traditions, history and the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Latin America. This month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. 

Hispanic Heritage was first officially celebrated in America in 1968. Former President Lyndon B. Johnson first started Hispanic Heritage Week, which was later expanded to a 30-day period in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan. This month is celebrated through a variety of activities, events and speakers all over the nation. These events celebrate Latinx art, architecture, literature, history, music, sports and many other significant contributions. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month falls on these dates to mark significant independence days in Latin American countries. September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence days in late September. 

The Office of Multicultural Programs at NDSU is holding events every week to celebrate this month. Each week will feature a different event exploring the traditions, games, histories and perspectives of Hispanic Heritage. Kaelen Napoleon, the Program Coordinator in the office of Multicultural Programs, explained how NDSU has not celebrated this month for quite a few years. 

“So having not celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in so long I just wanted to at least get one event for each week, so we were able to do that successfully,” said Napoleon. 

There have not been events for Hispanic History Month since 2016 due to budget cuts and the pandemic. However, NDSU is celebrating through multiple events this semester. “We are trying to get students back and engaging,” said Napoleon. 

NDSU holds 4 events to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. The first of these events, a Latin Game Night occurred on September 20th. During this event students, staff and faculty participated in playing Lotería, a game similar to Bingo. The event also included Latin music and food. This event “turned out to be a big hit,” said Napoleon. Around 30 to 40 people attended the event.  

A film, No Más Bebés is also a part of the National Hispanic Heritage Month events. According to NDSU, this is an award winning film which depicts the Chicana activists who worked to  redefine reproductive politics. “That really just shows the resilience of some Latin American women,” said Napoleon. 

On October 6, an NDSU Professor of History, Dr. Bradley Benton, will speak on “Montezuma in the Court of Elizabeth I: the Reinvention of the Mini Conquest of Mexico.” Benton’s areas of research include Colonial Mexico and Aztec Politics. 

The last event to conclude the Month will occur on October 11. A panel of students will present their perspective about stress and mental health. October 10 is Mental Health Awareness Day so the event will combine mental health with National Hispanic Heritage Month. According to NDSU, a “panel of NDSU students will discuss their personal experiences and strategies for coping with stress, racial incidents, and other mental health concerns from the Latin American perspective.”

“Well end our month with a student panel,” said Napoleon, “so we have a few students that will be talking about Mental Health from the Latin American perspective.”

“I think students should be aware and join in because it’s part of their learning, you know there’s your in class learning and then there’s your out of class learning,” said Napoleon, “I just think it’s overall important for everyone to be able to share their culture with the community.”

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