Discovering deeper roots

United Indigenous People & Nations

Alyssa Armstrong /  Quaker Campus    Founding members of new student organization (from left to right: Gracie Aragon, Ray Roberson, Esai Cervantes, Dynette Chavez) give a voice to indigenity and enrich diversity on campus.

Alyssa Armstrong / Quaker Campus

Founding members of new student organization (from left to right: Gracie Aragon, Ray Roberson, Esai Cervantes, Dynette Chavez) give a voice to indigenity and enrich diversity on campus.

Brianna Wilson

ASST. HEAD COPY EDITOR

Our campus has a new club, started this Spring semester by third-years President Esai Cervantes and Vice President Gracie Aragon, called United Indigenous Peoples and Nations (UIPN). “We knew that indigenous people — or people who identify as indigenous — need[ed] representation on campus, and we thought it was a good idea to go ahead and move forward with creating a club like this,” said Aragon.

The ultimate goal of the club is to create a safe space for indigenous students on campus. Indigenous people are native to a specific land; in the context of UIPN, this refers to Native Americans. However, “our club is inclusive of the Americas: North America, Central America, and South America. It’s not just limited to Native Americans,” said Aragon. UIPN members will be encouraged to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, in the hope of sparking discussions within the club. These are later goals, of course, as their first priority is getting students aware of and active in the club.

UIPN’s first meeting on March 4 included many different activities. The club leaders discussed the expectations of the club, everyone watched a video titled “A Conversation With Native Americans on Race” from the New York Times, and students located both where they are descendants from and where they grew up on a world map. Their focus for the first meeting was on Native Americans, but they plan on including other indigenous peoples in future meetings.

On March 26, the UIPN collaborated with Movimiento Esudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan  (MEChA) and First Generation and Allies to host an event called “Family-Style Meal” for Diverse Identities Week. The three organizations invited students to join them and interact with one another while also enjoying a meal from Bon Appétit and multiple fun, engaging activities. The UIPN has been very quick to establish relationships with other clubs, so clearly they will not have a hard time getting along with students and hosting other events in the future.

UIPN is hoping to plan even more activities in the future, which is why they want as many students to attend as possible. “We’re expecting different students to bring new ideas to the table [about] what activities we should do and what topics they would like us to cover,” said Aragon. High attendance and cultural diversity will help the club flourish. Their mission is to support and provide a platform to indigenous people who want to share their personal stories.

“I think that this is a perfect opportunity to take because you’ll be learning about a lot of indigenous people’s experiences and stories,” said Aragon, when asked why students should join the club. “I feel like, a lot of times, we can feel invisible as a people; our stories oftentimes go unacknowledged. If you would like to take part in raising consciousness regarding different issues, then I think that this club is a really good [one] to join. It is also a learning experience because I feel like a lot of people don’t necessarily know a lot about the issues that indigenous people face on their own tribal homelands. This is a good opportunity to get firsthand experiences and learn more about our identity.”

If you have any experiences to share or are interested in hearing from others, join UIPN every Tuesday at 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in Hoover 005.