Indigenous People’s Day

Today we celebrate Indigenous People’s Day in recognition and celebration of the presence, history and culture of the people who first inhabited these lands. This is an especially important day of reflection for the residents of the state of Arizona where 22 federally recognized tribes reside. Locally in Maricopa County, we are the  home to the following tribes:  Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, and Tohono O’odham Nation. And even closer to the PVCC campus, from an archaeological perspective, “…three distinct groups inhabited the area including: the Western Archaic tradition (5000 BC- 300 AD), the Hohokam (300-1450 AD) and the Patayan (300-1450 AD) cultures.” (Source: Deer Valley Petroglyph Preserve website)  As a reflection of this heritage, the large KSC community conference rooms are named after the Patayan people.

Beyond physical presence, my reflections are often driven by historical questions – hopefully in the context of fair-minded critical thinking. Take some time to consider:

  1. What would America look like if Manifest Destiny played out differently with a guiding value of honest, equal coexistence?

  2. How much richer in terms of population and diversity of tribes would be in existence today, if native people had been shielded from European diseases spread in the Americas beginning in the 17th century?

  3. What would the state of our physical environment (water resources, wildlife conservation, management of our forests and grasslands) look like today if the “dominant” culture adopted and integrated the native ways with today’s science and technology?

  4. How would our appreciation and understanding of native cultures and learning be dramatically heightened if the United States government did not force thousands of young native children into boarding schools replete with blinding assimilation?

  5. Would personal and cultural self-determination be dramatically improved for native people if the United States government did not adopt the practice of  isolation through the Reservation system?

  6.  What aspects of indigenous literature, art, history, or music will you engage with that will provide you a more authentic understanding of native culture?