One table offered information about CIC, another presented Native American arts and crafts, another handed out Indigenous Peoples’ Day t-shirts and another had trivia about famous Native Americans. Students performed at the event as well, Hite said.
"At the opening of the event, we had one student — her name is Taylor Williams — she did a jingle dress dance," Hite said. "It is a dance used for healing, and it was started in the midwest by the Ojibwa people. We eventually had one student do a spoken word, and toward the end, we did a social dance.”
Indigenous Peoples’ Day was first proposed in 1977 at an international conference on discrimination sponsored by the United Nations. Since then, it has gained traction in many cities and states throughout the country. As of today, 12 states and the District of Columbia celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, although Columbus Day remains a federal holiday.
In 2015, Chapel Hill and Carrboro adopted resolutions recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day. In 2018, Governor Roy Cooper released a proclamation marking the second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day in North Carolina.
“It is really important because it shows more recognition for indigenous people because this is our land, and we need as much help as we can get with recognition in the first place,” said Jasmin Lazore, the political action chair for CIC and a junior majoring in political science and Peace, War, and Defense.
Turnout at CIC’s event was greater than ever this year, Hite said. What began as a small group of students wearing Indigenous Peoples’ Day t-shirts for a group photo three years ago has grown to an event attracting over 50 attendees.
“When I first started here back in (2005-2006), the Native American community was even smaller, and we’d have not very much turnout for these events,” said Norman. "So seeing how many people were there yesterday was fantastic."
Norman said some of the attendees put face paint on in handprints to bring attention to missing and murdered indigenous women. She said people around campus respectfully asked them about the paint and responded positively.
Lazore said the schools she has attended in the past didn’t really have Native populations, so it’s nice to be somewhere where she isn’t alone.
“Everyone is just having a good time,” Lazore said. “All of these Native people from different tribes, we’re all still Native. It just really reminded me of how great of a sense of community that CIC has. We’re like a big family.”