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Visitor essay: Rejoice Indigenous Peoples’ Day with free occasion

by Cari Carpenter

The Metropolis of Morgantown, one in all tons of of locations proclaiming the second Tuesday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, is the positioning of the Oct. 9-10 free public discussion board “This Land Was Already Liked.”

WVU’s Native American Research Program welcomes esteemed leaders from the Shawnee Tribe, Japanese Shawnee Tribe, Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, Cherokee Nation and Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy for this historic discussion board. They may focus on their nations’ ancestral connections to West Virginia, offering Indigenous views on historical past, tradition and outlooks for the longer term.

We’re so lucky to have these vital leaders go to our city for this pivotal event. Their displays will assist reply a number of the lingering questions on a regular basis West Virginians have concerning the state’s first peoples.

The Haudenosaunee nations, the Shawnee, Lenape (Delaware), Cherokee and different historic tribes regard West Virginia as being inside their ancestral lands, and there are nonetheless particular person descendants residing right here immediately. The U.S. has greater than 570 federally-recognized Native Nations, and the 2020 Census cites almost 10 million Native individuals nationwide.

Indigenous individuals, additionally referred to collectively within the U.S. as Native People or American Indians and Alaska Natives, have lived upon this land since time immemorial. That is evidenced by each oral historical past and archaeological websites in Morgantown and all through our state. The close by 2,000-year-old Hopewell Earthworks in Ohio have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Website simply final month.

As a professor who has taught Native American literature for 20 years, I can’t categorical how excited I’m to have the chance to witness this occasion firsthand. I’m particularly keen to listen to famend Haudenosaunee Faithkeeper Oren Lyons give the keynote, “Reality to energy: Historical past from Indigenous views” tomorrow, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. within the Gluck Theater of the Scholar Union.

I additionally look ahead to the feedback from Shawnee Tribe Chief Ben Barnes, Japanese Shawnee Tribe Chief Glenna Wallace, Delaware Nation President Deborah Dotson, Delaware Tribe of Indians Chief Brad KillsCrow and Cherokee Nation consultant Catherine Foreman Grey, together with singer John Block (Seneca Nation) and musician Boe Nakakakena Harris (Turtle Mountain Chippewa).

I now echo the phrases of Mayor Selin’s proclamation, encouraging continued recognition, appreciation and celebration of Indigenous Individuals by means of goodwill, respect and friendship. I strongly encourage particular person residents, faculties, companies, private and non-private organizations and different neighborhood companions to affix with communities throughout America to advertise the well-being of Indigenous individuals, pledging to change into extra knowledgeable, educated and engaged.

Cari Carpenter has been a professor of English and Native American Research at West Virginia College since 2004.  She is the creator of three books on Native People within the nineteenth century: Chosen Writings of Ora Eddleman Reed, Author, and Editor, and Activist of Cherokee Rights; The Newspaper Warrior: Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins’s Marketing campaign for American Indian Rights, 1864-1891; and Seeing Crimson: Anger, Sentimentality, and American Indians.