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Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2023

Content warning: Sensitive topics are discussed in this article
Christina McLeod
227 members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe lost their lives at boarding schools.

Pipeline staff reporters Amar Zerbe and Christina McLeod interviewed Kari Noack and Kerry Byberg about Indigenous People’s Day and Orange Shirt Day. Orange Shirt Day is September 30 of every year. Since it fell on a weekend this year, MPHS is recognizing Orange Shirt Day on Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Monday, October 9.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day – formerly known as Columbus Day – is about Native Americans’ desire to acknowledge that when Christopher Columbus landed on America’s shores, it was already the land of Indigenous people. Noack said she strongly disagrees with it being called Columbus Day because, even though Columbus found the Americas, he did not discover the Native land.

The history of Orange Shirt Day started with a woman who attended a boarding school in Canada. Before her first day of school, her Nokomis (grandma) took her shopping. She wore an orange shirt to the boarding school, but she was forced into a uniform and never saw that shirt again. When she was in the uniform, she did not feel seen as who she really was. That’s why Indigenous Peoples Day and Orange Shirt Day exist as holidays: to show respect to the Native children who were not recognized and had their culture stripped off of them. They endured horrible cultural cleansing, such as cutting their hair and forcing them to speak English. If those Native kids spoke their Native language, they would be hit or put in a cellar where many were raped and even murdered by priests. This is why we honor these Indigenous holidays. In addition to showing respect, we want to highlight how much schools have changed for Native people. There are people who attended those boarding schools alive today, but the trauma from their experiences makes them reluctant to speak on their experiences at times.

Zerbe interviewed Byberg about her job as a tutor in the Native American Office. Byberg shared that she enjoys being able to talk to and teach the kids while providing a learning environment. Outside of work, Kerry enjoys outdoor activities such as golf and being with relatives. Her former coworkers would describe her as reliable and dedicated to helping students. What made her want to do this job was that she liked being around students and teaching them. She dislikes when students are very disrespectful to adults.

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About the Contributors
Amar Zerbe
Amar Zerbe, Staff Reporter
Amar Zerbe is a sophomore and first-year staffer on the Pipeline. She was drawn to the Arts and Entertainment beat by her interest in entertainment. She is especially interested in covering feature stories.
Christina McLeod
Christina McLeod, Former Staff Reporter
Christina McLeod is a sophomore and first-year staffer on the shield. She was put into the newspaper by her interest in arts and entertainment photography. She is most interested in covering art and events during school. When Christina isn’t covering art or entertainment you can find her camping, cleaning, or somewhere with her family.
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