Grand Valley State University celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day with discussion on natural resource management
In observance of Indigenous Peoples Day, Grand Valley State University welcomed senior student and citizen of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of the Pottawatomi Indians, Elliot Fair, to lead a discussion on issues impacting our natural resources
“You know culture makes me happy and the work I do also makes me happy, so it’s just a win-win,” Fair said.
Fair majors in natural resource management at GVSU and is an undergraduate assistant at the Annis Water Resource Institute. His presentation surrounded the importance of Manoomin, or wild rice, as at least one of its species in Michigan is threatened.
Manoomin is a sacred food and medicine for Anishinaabe people. It also serves as food and protection for animals. Fair’s presentation combined culture and science, discussing conservation efforts.
“I think it was very important. I grew up very cultural like I learned a lot of cultural teachings, but I also had this kind of scientific viewpoint on the world as well,” he told WGVU. “Just through life I’ve brought those two things together, because I realized both had really important benefits.”
Here in America, Indigenous People’s Day is celebrated in October as a replacement for Columbus day. GVSU’s Native American Student Association rallied to acknowledge and adopt the holiday in 2018. This year marks the group’s 4th anniversary of this work.