CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Campus leaders at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will join with members of Indigenous and local communities to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct. 8. The ceremony will take place from 11 a.m. to noon, with a reception following, on the South Quad near the ACES Library, 1101 S. Goodwin, Ave., Urbana.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day has been celebrated for decades at Illinois with efforts led by Native students, La Casa Cultural Latina and the Native American House.
The event will begin with a welcome song by the Bad River Singers, comprised of tribal members from both the Bad River Nation and the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Nation. Other content includes opening remarks by Chancellor Robert Jones and an introduction of the keynote speaker by Matt Gilbert, the director of the American Indian Studies program at Illinois.
The keynote speaker will be Charlene Teters, a Spokane Nation tribal member who graduated from Illinois in 1994 with a degree in painting. While a student at Illinois, Teters gained national prominence as she drew attention to the impact of inaccurate Native American imagery on Indigenous communities. Teters is an academic dean at the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Following traditional Indigenous offerings, Jones and Native students will plant a tree on the South Quad.
Limited seating will be available under a tent and the celebration will be wheelchair accessible.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated throughout the Western Hemisphere and is an official holiday in many locations.