November is recognized across America as Native American Heritage Month, and we at The Daily Eastern News think we at Eastern need to do our part in recognizing it.
Native American Heritage Month was first declared by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, and it becomes more important each year. Many people across the nation have been doing more to acknowledge Native Americans and that their land was stolen from them generations ago.
While a general acknowledgement of Native Americans is important, it is also vital to understand the indigenous people that lived in the area where we live and attend class.
The Eastern History Department released a land acknowledgement statement in August 2020, a statement that simply states that the land upon which Eastern was built is part of the territory that traditionally belongs to different Native American tribes, including the Peoria, Kaskaskia, Potawatomi and Ojibwa peoples. The statement also includes a passage that sums up the importance of acknowledge indigenous people.
“Telling the stories of first peoples is an obligation the present owes to both the past and the future,” the statement reads. “We further wish to acknowledge the land’s sustained historical stewardship by indigenous peoples across North America and their ongoing struggles against injustice oppression.”
The last sentence of this statement brings up an important point. The fight against oppression is still ongoing for indigenous people all across the country and world. There is much that still needs to be done in this fight to attempt to undo the harm that was done to indigenous people throughout the history of this nation.
Taking time during Native American Heritage Month to reflect on these things is the absolute least we can do, and we should certainly try to do more.