The University’s Global Indigenous Forum, under the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs, will host their third annual indigenous celebration.
The celebration came about in the 2000s, with the Native American Society and the annual Intertribal Celebration involving Native North Americans at the University.
This year’s theme is “Circle of Good Living: Sumak Kawsay,” inspired by Salvador Quishpe, a distinguished speaker and major indigenous leader in Ecuador.
“This indigenous philosophy is at the core of social and political movements throughout South and Central America,” said Dennis Wiedman, founding director of GIF and associate professor in the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies. “The indigenous message about the earth and environment should be a concern to everyone.”
The program includes Seminole flute music and storytelling, Miccosukee environmental efforts, Japanese Ainu life stories, Quechua songs by the Kuyayky Group and Children’s Orchestra.
With this event, Wiedman hopes that indigenous students feel more welcome at FIU.
“It will expand student understanding of global issues, peoples and concerns,” he said. “The forum’s mission is to bring the indigenous voice, perspective and issues to the campus, South Florida and the world. This is our signature event to gather indigenous peoples in a space where they can express their culture, identities and issues in positive ways to the public.”
The event is co-sponsored by the Global Indigenous Group and the CSO Council of Student Organizations.
According to Wiedman, FIU is known for having hundreds of faculty in areas of Latin American and Caribbean studies, but very little on the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
“For decades, there has been little indigenous voice at FIU,” he said. “Even though we say we are an international university, there are no regular tenure track faculty who publicly identify themselves as indigenous.”
The celebration will be held on Sunday, Oct. 25 in the Graham Center Ballrooms from 2 to 5 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.
“The Global Indigenous Forum and the Indigenous Celebration is important because it is a way to recruit and retain faculty and students of indigenous heritage remedying the under-representation of indigenous peoples at FIU,” said Wiedman. “If we move quickly, we have the opportunity to be a leading university for Global Indigenous Studies.”