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Indigenous Peoples’ Day at NMU October 12, 2020

Indigenous Peoples’ Day at NMU October 12, 2020

Northern Michigan University’s first official Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration will be held Monday, Oct. 12. Hosted by the Native American Student Association (NASA), the holiday recognizes the past and current state of colonization for Indigenous peoples.

“At NMU, it gives the Native American community greater visibility and hopefully promotes understanding of both our history and current state of being for our faculty, community and peers,” said NASA secretary Yrsa Peterson.

The free event begins at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony in the Academic Mall, located between Jamrich, Harden Hall and West Science. The event will also be streamed live.

NASA president Bazile Panek will deliver opening remarks. The event will include drum songs by Morning Thunder, along with comments from President Erickson and Associated Students of NMU president Emma Drever. Center for Native American Studies faculty members Martin Reinhardt and Jud Sojourn will also speak during the ceremony.

An evening session featuring keynote speaker Frank Ettawageshik, executive director of the United Tribes of Michigan, will be held from 6-9 p.m. on Zoom. A panel discussion will follow, featuring Panek, Native American Studies faculty member Leora Lancaster and community member Meskwa Gekek Kwe. A closing celebration will feature local Anishinaabeg music group Waawiyeyaa.

“For me, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is the day I am prouder than ever to be Ojibwe,” said Peterson. “I am proud that my ancestors endured so that I can be here today. I am proud that my peers and I continue to strive to protect our culture and community. Most of all, I am proud to share this day with the extraordinarily caring and engaged community I have here at NMU.

“As members of that community, we all have a responsibility to strive to understand and support all of our diverse peers. Native Americans, especially, are extremely misunderstood due to the continuing misrepresentations in media, among many other things.”

The NMU Board of Trustees approved a motion to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on campus at its July 2020 meeting.

For more information on the opening ceremony and to access the livestream link, visit To register for the evening Zoom session, visit In the case of inclement weather, the opening ceremony will be held via Zoom at

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