Respecting Native American culture

Lydia Westedt, student

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A couple of years ago, my dad showed me something very important. After learning I was transfering to Oshkosh, he strongly recommended that I watch an old documentary about the founding and history of the city of Oshkosh.

“I’ll sit through this to humor him,” I thought. Looking back on this event, I’m glad I suffered through that “stuffy” documentary, because if I hadn’t I would have absolutely no idea how significant Oshkosh is in regards to Native American history.

However, in my time at Oshkosh, I have seen little to no tributes or commemorations to the Natives who occupied the space we now live in; and this cannot be tolerated.

Earlier this year, when Angela Davis came to UW Oshkosh to speak for Black History Month, she mentioned how schools in Canada often take moments of silence before campus events to honor the Native Americans who lived in that area before them. I would like to draw attention to this, as Davis did, to reinforce the importance of remembering and respecting the people who first occupied the ground we learn on, especially when that ground supports the foundations of our culturally diverse and educated University.

With recent concern toward student racism and the racially discriminatory comments toward OSA candidates, I think awareness and recognition of our diverse predecessors is an urgent issue. Especially since many UWO students live in Oshkosh and in Winnebago county students should at least know how the words “Oshkosh” and “Winnebago” are significant.

Furthermore, in addition to seminars, learning panels or speeches about Native American history, some sort of monument or mural should be placed on campus to give respect to the namesake of our city and University.