Santa Rosa Junior College celebrated Native American people, their history and their culture on Oct. 14 in Bertolini Quad as part of the college’s fifth annual Indigenous People’s Day, a holiday replacing Columbus Day.
SRJC faculty and Eastern Cherokee tribe member Dr. Brenda Flyswithhawks saged the the land to clear negativity during the opening ceremony.
“I am glad we have this on campus for the students,” Flyswithhawks said.
While a recording of Pomo music played in the background, multiple vendors sold clothing, art and jewelry including necklaces made of crystals.
“This day is another form to take back what was taken, to bring awareness that our culture is significant,” said SRJC student Maria Cardenas, president of the Native American Student Council for the past two semesters.
This day means a lot to her.
“It reminds me of who I am and where I come from,” Cardenas said. “It gives me hope for the future for the next generation. I think it’s an important moment in time—it’s important to pause from when we are doing everything else to remember days like this.”
Despite appreciating the holiday each year, every day should be Indigenous People’s Day, according to Flyswithhawks.
“For me [celebrating the holiday] gives the opportunity for people who still don’t know we are around and that we exist. It gives us the opportunity to remind them that we are the Indigenous people,” Flyswithhawks said.