Augustana University Chapel and Our Saviors Lutheran Church hosted the second annual Indigenous People’s Day event on Oct. 9.
Students and members of the community were invited to share a traditional meal of fry bread and buffalo soup before hearing from Prairie Rose Seminole, an educator and advocate from the Northern Cheyenne tribe.
Attendees also viewed a video from Karla Abbott, Associate Professor of Nursing, inviting them to attend powwows and sharing the proper etiquette for being respectful at these events.
Pastor Ann Rosendale opened the evening with a prayer and welcomed the crowd.
“We hope that this event is a way to claim the significance of the day and that tonight may help you prepare your heart and mind for what is to come tomorrow, a day where we can honor our Indigenous friends and neighbors,” Rosendale said.
Prairie Rose Seminole is involved in building a curriculum with the Lutheran Theological Seminary centered around justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. She works with Minnesota State University Moorhead and most recently served as the American Indian and Alaska Native program director.
After a brief introduction about herself and her family, Seminole spoke about the long history shared by the Native Americans and the Lutheran Church, especially the Lutheran Doctrine of Discovery and the damage it inflicted on Native communities.
Seminole presented the history of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s and the connection that Augustana has to the movement as well. One event of the movement took place on Augustana’s campus. Seminole shared stories of the Native American occupations of Augustana dorms in the 70s.
Augustana junior Hanna Beshai attended the event to celebrate and honor Native and Indigenous neighbors in remembrance of the atrocities and traumas our nation has inflicted on them.
She said events like these open up a space to begin having conversations that walk us towards a road of healing.
“I think that’s an integral part of Augie’s history that we haven’t spoken about yet,” said senior Lujain Kahn.
Augustana students Kahn, Natalie Mohr and Elizabeth Viehweg attended the event as part of a class on Medicine, Religion, and Ethics.
Kahn said she is paying more attention to what is happening with Native communities around the area. They’ve been covering topics around Indigenous culture in class.
“I feel like events like these are important,” Mohr said, “we get the day off of school, but not just for no reason. Going to events like these and talking about Native American culture in class is important.”