A day to reflect, remember, and respect. Montana State University celebrated American Indian Heritage Day Friday, kicking off a two-day event featuring speakers, panelists, a film, and more.
On Sept. 24, dozens of community members, students, and children gathered outside American Indian Hall, awaiting to begin ‘The Prayer Walk for the Children’. Montana State University’s American Indian Heritage Day focuses on the thousands of children who died, and likely left in unmarked graves, at Indian Residential and Boarding Schools.
“This is a space and time where we can bring awareness. We hope that students and non-students, faculty members…it’s helping start that conversation and being in that space together,” Nicholas Ross-Dick said.
Ross-Dick is the program manager for American Indian and Alaska Native Student Success at MSU.
“The prayer walk, it’s an observance in honor of the thousands of young children who were taken away from their communities, and families and homes,” Ross-Dick goes on, “The heart of the walk is being blessed and it’s appropriate and there will be a moment of silence.”
MSU has been experiencing record enrollment, overall, but American Indian student enrollment numbers are at an all time high at around 800. A monumental achievement, accompanying monumental events on campus.
A film surrounding the return and retrieval of remains from North American Boarding Schools, speakers addressing the mental and psychological, and panels to learn more about such a heavy topic.