As November marks National Native American Heritage month, Clark and community members proceeded with their annual Celebration of Indigenous Cultures and Education to the Seventh Generation through a virtual format.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s celebration consisted of a video in memory of past celebrations. While this year’s celebration again lacks the traditional in-person powwow, the college continued with the custom of educating on Indigenous culture and history with another video.
Michelle Golder, special projects & activities manager at Clark, noted that the planning committee, made up of Indigenous community members and college staff, strove to continue preserving the meaning behind the event.
“With powwows it’s really important that all of the community be able to be present and celebrate and not really have a lot of restrictions, which is in actuality what we would have [had] to do,” Golder said.
Past in-person powwows have included music, dancing, honoring of veterans, and food provided by vendors from the local community.
This year’s video contains footage of past celebrations, photos, and an interview with previous two-time Dreamcatcher Scholarship recipient Catarina Salazar, a member of the Wahpeton tribe in Lake Traverse. The Dreamcatcher scholarship is designed for future and current Clark students identifying as Native American Indian, Alaska Native, Hawaiian Native or indigenous to the Americas.
For this celebration’s educational piece, Anna Schmasow, a Dakota Sioux tribe member, and Duana Johnson, a Colville tribe member, speak on the impact of boarding schools for Native Americans and bring awareness to missing and murdered Indigenous women, respectively.
Since 2009, Clark and community members have coordinated the celebration with the intention of educating and preserving historical Indigenous practices to the Seventh Generation.
The Seventh Generation principle comes from the ancient Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) philosophy that emphasizes taking into consideration the impacts decisions may have on the next seven generations.
The video was made available Nov. 5 on Clark’s Celebration of Indigenous Cultures web page.