Eastern Michigan University’s Native American Student Organization (NASO) and Center of Race & Ethnicity (CORE) teamed up to host their Native Women: Beyond Statistics presentation Nov. 12.
The event was to celebrate Native American Heritage Month and spread awareness about Native women and sexual health.
Students interested in learning more about “sexual and environmental protection from an Anishinaabe perspective” gathered in the Student Center Intersection Room.
Anishinaabe people are members of the “Ojibwe, Odawa and Algonkin [tribes], who all share closely related Algonquian languages.” Anishinaabe can be directly translated to “First-” or “Original-People.” Throughout the United States and Canada, “there are more than 200 bands of Anishinaabe Indians.” Every community lives in its own reservation, or reserve. “Each Anishinaabe tribe or First Nation is politically independent and has its own government, laws, police, and services.”
The event’s discussion focused on “effects of colonial violence and historical trauma on Native women’s bodies ... [and] how we can work towards a future that protects and values ... Indigenous bodies.”
Students could fill out a “Pathways to Healing Worksheet” during the presentation. This worksheet provided attendees a list of people they could talk to, activities they like to do on the land, ways they feel connected to the land and ways they feel connected to their body. This activity opened students’ eyes to ways they can better connect with themselves and the environment.
Kenzie Wright, an EMU junior, attended the event to learn more about Native issues and activism.
“I thought I [should] educate myself on what’s going on,” Wright said. “I have taken all the Native American classes offered at EMU. I thought I would get as much education as I could here.”
At the event, Wright learned to connect more with nature and herself.
“Like asking more permission from myself and also the land,” she said. “To just be more of a decent person.”
Sarah Hutchinson, a fifth year student, attended the event to learn more about Native American culture.
“I have a really strong Native American heritage,” Hutchinson said. “It sounded really interesting. I consider myself a feminist, and it all just flowed together.”
At the event, Hutchinson learned to make connections.
“I made connections to what I already knew with more of an indigenous point of view,” she said.
Although the Native Women Beyond Statistics presentation has passed, CORE and NASO will be teaming up once again to host Talk Culture: Two Spirit Identity on Tuesday, Nov. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Student Center Intersection Room. This upcoming event will conclude Native American Heritage Month. These types of events will occur next year, as well.