The Native American Indigenous Student Organization (NAISO) — which strives to promote education and motivate the native student community and MSU community through social and cultural support — celebrated Indigenous Peoples' Day at the Rock on Farm Lane on Monday, Oct. 14.
"I just think it's important to take time to recognize that MSU is on native land and to honor and celebrate native culture not just today, but everyday," senior human biology major and co-chair of NAISO Amanda Ziminski said.
According to the College of Arts and Letters, the university resides on land ceded in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw.
"The Anishinaabeg people: that is the first people set on this land," Clinton Gould, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, said. "To me, it's what this day really represents, that the government is taking the time to hear our voices and getting ready to represent our future leaders in the Native American country."
On Oct. 11, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into effect a proclamation to declare Oct. 14 Indigenous Peoples' Day.
"It gives us a chance to educate the people who don't know. It's a chance for people to look at the calendar and see how it says Indigenous Peoples' Day instead of Columbus Day," senior biochemistry and molecular biology major and co-chair of NAISO Traverse Cottrell said. "It already puts it on the plate for legislation to look at later. ... If this can become an actual state recognized thing forevermore, that would really solidify our presence here."
Ziminski said she is excited for this proclamation because, growing up in school, she learned about Columbus Day instead of Indigenous Peoples' Day or the Native heritage.
"It's super exciting because growing up in school, I learned about Columbus Day. I never learned about Indigenous Peoples' Day, let alone Native heritage," said Ziminski. "It promotes native culture across the state of Michigan, and I hope that people start learning about Indigenous Peoples' Day rather than Columbus Day."