EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- This November, the University Wisconsin-Eau Claire is celebrating Native American Heritage Month.
The festivities began with an opening ceremony on November 4.
Students and community members gathered for a dinner of traditional indigenous foods and to hear keynote speaker Dr. JP Leary, associate professor of First Nations studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. There was also drumming from the Little Thunder drum group of the Hochunk Nation.
Throughout the month, students and community members can attend events like beading workshops and pottery demonstrations to learn and celebrate Native American Heritage.
“We want to share our experiences and have people feel welcome to join us,” says Caroline Kernan, a member of the Inter-Tribal Student Council, a student group helping to put on the events.
Kernan says having a month dedicated to Native American Heritage helps increase representation on campus.
“We are really hoping to promote this attitude of respect and understanding that we can all share in and it’s really important to native students but it’s also important that we have our non-native students participate to help uplift each other,” Kernan says.
Tressa Lange, Inter-Tribal Student Council President says the hope from events like this is to educate others about Native American culture.
“A lot of times we are not heard or seen on campus so this month gives us a chance to showcase our culture, who we are, our history and who we are today,” Lange says. “I hope this opens a lot of conversations and thoughts to non-native students who maybe want to learn more and then they get the chance to.”
For a list of all this month’s events, click here.