MISSOULA — During normal times, the University of Montana Oval would be filled with singing, dancing, and food unique to Montana’s Native Tribes celebrated on Indigenous People’s Day.
But this year’s COVID-19 safe event still brought with it learning opportunities, along with a proclamation delivered by University President, Seth Bodnar.
“The University of Montana shall recognize Indigenous People’s Day on the second Monday of October, and be f further resolve that Indigenous People’s Day shall be used to reflect upon the thriving culture and value Indigenous Nations add to the University of Montana," Bodnar said.
University Tribal Outreach Specialist Brad Hall says to be able to display native art, literature, and history at the university’s Payne Family Native American Center will have a positive impact on current students, and for those to come.
“We’re able to look at how we can continue to strive to do better in respecting their identity, their perspectives, and their contributions to the learning process here at the university.”
Third-year students, Zachariah Rides At The Door and Driston Louis say this celebration and the university’s support on the whole means a lot to them.
“I think it’s super-important especially for native students," Louis said. "They’ll feel like they have more support because I definitely feel like I have more support.”
Most of Monday's events were held through Zoom meetings. They’re hoping that they’ll be able to get back to celebrating Indigenous People’s day with all the singing, dancing, and food they’ve become accustomed to next year.