Indigenous students from the University of Kansas and Haskell University pose for a picture outside Strong Hall back in September. Students from both schools, along with other members of the local Indigenous community, came together to celebrate Indigenous Peoples' Week last week.

Indigenous Peoples' Day, a holiday that honors Native American culture and traditions, was last Monday, followed by a week celebrating Indigenous People. The University of Kansas First Nations Student Association (FNSA), with support from Haskell students, celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Week on Wednesday with the raising of a tipi on the lawn outside Strong Hall.

The tipi raising was an important and emotional event for Native American students and faculty at KU, according to FNSA. It is the first tipi to be raised on campus. FNSA detailed the significance of the event in a Facebook post.

“What a historic day it was… thank you to those who helped us raise our tipi, thank you to KU for inviting us to raise our tipi on the lawn of Strong Hall, thank you to our singers, thank you Haskell community/students, thank you KU staff, faculty, administrators, and students," the post said. "We are still here and we are proud to be Jayhawks.”

Students also celebrated at the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center on Thursday. The event was a two-hour long commemoration of Native culture, including an array of Indigenous-inspired foods and playing television shows that celebrated Native American culture and identity.

There were also activities available for participants, such as button making and Native American hand games. 

Each day during FNSA Celebration Week, there has been a theme that celebrates Indigenous clothing. On Wednesday, students wore ribbon shirts and skirts or any kind of Indigenous-inspired shirt, and on Thursday, students were encouraged to wear moccasins and beaded jewelry.

On Friday, students and faculty wore orange shirts and their hair braided. The color orange symbolizes the over 150,000 Indigenous children who were forced into the Canadian and American residential schooling systems.

The tipi was taken down on Friday. Students and faculty gathered at 5 p.m. to break down the tipi, but it will return to campus. 

FNSA will be reinstating the tipi in the spring of next year. FNSA members said it will be used for the activities during the KU Powwow & Indigenous Cultures Festival on April 9, 2022.

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