By Chantell Cosner, Division of Student Affairs
Students, faculty and staff gathered on the steps of Todd Hall on Monday to celebrate the newly proclaimed Indigenous Peoples Day.
The proclamation, signed by President Kirk Schulz, recognizes and celebrates the contributions of Native Americans, first people and indigenous people across all WSU campuses. In the future, the second Monday in October will be known systemwide as Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day.
“I think it’s just an amazing feeling to have the university acknowledge the indigenous people of this land as well as acknowledge that we are on Nez Perce land,” said Kyra Antone, student president of the Native American Womens Association.
Leaders from five student groups, including Antone, were instrumental in putting forth the request to Schulz and Pullman City Council for the change. The proposal included signatures of nearly 350 students and community members. Pullman City Council unanimously voted to approve the change on Oct. 2.
“It says a lot to our students that the university acknowledges that they are here and they are welcome and a celebrated part of the community,” said Faith Price, assistant director for Native American Programs. “It does a lot for our campus climate.”
Antone said she hopes that Indigenous Peoples Day will continue to grow into a nationwide event to celebrate indigenous people from all different backgrounds and learn about the history of the cultures that surround them.
“It can be disheartening to see how we are represented in the media,” she said. Accurate representation of indigenous people is very important, so I encourage everyone to go out and learn about the indigenous land that you are on and the people that were there before you.”
Columbus Day is not a holiday celebrated consistently across the United States. Washington state does not observe Columbus Day, and some cities — including Spokane, Washington, and Moscow, Idaho — have opted to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day instead.
- Jaime Nolan, associate vice president, Division of Student Affairs, Community, Equity and Inclusive Excellence, 509‑335‑4525, firstname.lastname@example.org