During the months of October and November, Grand Valley State University’s Center for Multicultural Affairs will host several events to help bring awareness to Native American Heritage. These events will include numerous performances and lectures, as well as panels and service projects.
According to the Office of Multicultural Affairs website, their overall ambition is to welcome diversity in all forms. “Our mission is to support efforts in recruiting and retaining diverse students; to educate, engage and empower all students to live in a multicultural world; and to advocate for a socially just campus environment.”
Along with educating students, the OMA also aims to cultivate different cultures into education and foster a place for cultural success.
Their website states that the OMA will, “create an educational environment that cultivates the rich contributions of all cultures and also provides a place where students can achieve academic, social and cultural success.”
Moreover, one of the events scheduled will be titled “Professionals of Color Lecture Series: Trans Day of Remembrance with Qwo-Li Driskill.” This event will occur on Nov. 19 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Kirkhof Center. The lecture will be hosted by poet and activist Qwo-Li Driskill whose poetry focuses on healing and inheritance.
Qwo-Li’s poetry also has involves multiple themes in Cherokee culture, as well as queer and mix-raced themes.
Walking with Ghosts, Driskill’s first poetry collection, was named Book of the Month by Sable: The LitMag for New Writing and was nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs website further highlights a second event: a performance by hip-hop artist Sacramento Knoxx will occur on Oct. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cook-DeWitt Center. Like Driskill, Knoxx also has a background in activism.
According to the website, the nature of his performance is centered on starting a conversation. “His work and activism is focused on drawing attention to both the historic and contemporary experiences of Native American and Chicanx populations.” Knoxx will give a 45 minute performance followed by a discussion that highlights how creative expression can challenge us to confront social ills and think critically about our own identities.
The third event highlighted on the OMA’s event page was titled “Re-Imagining Indigenous People’s Day” which included a performance and presentation. The event was about the shift from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, including a push for decolonization and global Indigenous movement building. The event included a performance by Twindians. “Re-Imagining Indigenous People’s Day” was presented on Oct. 8.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs initial aim is to, “offer diversity and cultural learning opportunities to improve intercultural understanding and competency,” followed by the efforts to “stimulate and encourage opportunities for intentional intercultural dialogue and engagement among university members.”
All events scheduled are free and open to students, faculty and staff.