MISSOULA — This week the University of Montana asked students and staff to show their “Native Griz pride” by wearing moccasins and ribbon shirts and skirts on campus.
The week ended with events all day on campus Friday for the 23rd annual American Indian Heritage Day complete with guest speakers in front of Main Hall.
“It humbles me today, to stand before you, and to ask Creator to look at each and every one of our paths. Each and every one of us have a contribution to our life, and to this land, and to this university," said Arlene Adams. "Take it to heart and make something good out of it.”
Adams -- one of the first people to graduate from the Native American Studies program at the University of Montana -- shared her message and a song.
Student and master of ceremonies Zachary Wagner said the new smug space in the University Center will give Native students a place of comfort on campus.
“It gives us a place to go and pray and feel a little bit more welcome in these times, especially with school, it gets really hard as students as all of us know, and it’s tough to be away from home, and having something like that, some familiarity to home is very important to us.”
The day of events ends with dinner and a presentation by Mariah Gladstone.
UM is now planning a celebration with singers and dancers on Oct. 12 for Indigenous People’s Day.