Nez Perce leaders to speak at WSU as part of Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration Oct. 9

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Monday, Oct. 9 marks the 6th anniversary of Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the Washington State University system. The celebration will begin at 3 p.m. at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center, where Nez Perce leaders will speak on the history of Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) territory, current Tribal priorities, and what the Tribe is planning for the future.

This year’s speakers include Nakia Williamson, Nez Perce director of cultural resources, Joyce McFarland, Nez Perce education manager, and Samuel Penney, Nez Perce executive committee member and former chairman.

Current WSU Nez Perce students and alumni will also share their stories as part of the event.

A livestream link for the 3–5 p.m. talks can be found on the WSU Native American Programs website. The day’s programming will also include a Nimiipuu arts fair with vendors.

At 5 p.m., a complementary dinner will be provided following the in-person talks by Nez Perce leadership. An RSVP by Oct. 5 is required for the dinner portion of the event. The link to the dinner RSVP is available online or can be found on the Native American Programs website.

Following the events at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center is a performance of “According to Coyote,” starting at 7 p.m. at the CUB Auditorium starring Kellen Trenal. This event is free and open to the public. “According to Coyote” is a Nez Perce origin story by John Kauffman, directed by Josephine Keefe, and produced by the Spokane Ensemble Theatre. The mono-dramatic presentation is an immersive, hour-long experience of creative storytelling that teaches lessons from the deep familial roots of its creators.

WSU acknowledges that its locations statewide are on the homelands of Native peoples who have lived in this region from time immemorial. The WSU Pullman campus resides on the homelands of the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) Tribe and Palus people. WSU Vancouver occupies the traditional homelands of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and Peoples of the Lower Columbia Valley. WSU Everett occupies the traditional homelands of the Tulalip Tribes. WSU Tri-Cities occupies the homelands of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation as well as the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. WSU Spokane rests on the homelands of the Spokane Tribe.

It is worth noting that each of these Tribes are signatory to a Memorandum of Understanding with WSU and are either situated within the present-day borders of what is now Washington State or have ancestral territories that fall within the state’s boundaries. Their stewardship for and connection to this land traces back through countless generations. 

Thank you to all our Indigenous People Day Sponsors: Office of Tribal Relations, Native American Programs, Nez Perce Education Fund, David G. Pollart Center for Arts and Humanities, Department of History, LBGTQ+ Center, Department of Anthropology, Department of English, and ASWSU Ku-ah-mah.

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