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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Native American Heritage Celebrated by AISA and Campus

November dedicated to celebrate Native American heritage since 1990
Elyanne Kenney
AISA and the campus spent time in early November building a teepee in front of the Te Ata statue in the Oval.

On Aug. 3, 1990, President George H.W. Bush declared November as Native American Heritage Month. As stated on the Native American Heritage Month website, this month was started to gain recognition for the contributions that the first Americans made to the United States.  

Before the declaration of the month, Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian, persuaded the Boy Scouts of America to set aside a day to recognize the “First Americans.” They set this day aside for three years. Later, in 1915, the Congress for the American Indian Association adopted the second Saturday in May as American Indian Day.  

For the 2023 year of Native American Heritage Month, this year’s theme is Celebrating Tribal Sovereignty and Identity. Tribal sovereignty ensures that any decisions regarding the Tribes and their property and citizens are consensual and with their participation.  

“This month is a great opportunity for not only native people to come together but other people from other ethnicities and races to come together and learn about the Native American experience,” Hayla Wilson, president of the American Indian Student Alliance (AISA) at USAO, said. 

USAO and other Native American organizations want to encourage Native and people who are not Native to learn about this month in an open dialogue. They want to unite people and open the opportunity for anyone to learn about the Native American culture.  

AISA, a newly formed alliance on campus, wants to provide a sense of community for people. Most of the Native American groups on campus have not been active, so Wilson said she wanted to be a part of something and be a friendly face on campus. She continued to say that she doesn’t present as traditionally Native, so she wants people to see what she’s involved in and become involved themselves.  

“I started this group because I noticed a lack of groups on campus, which is part of the reason I came to this college,” Wilson said. “I want people to know that I am still learning myself, so people should not be afraid of being involved because they don’t know anything because I am also still learning.” 

As a part of Native American Heritage Month, AISA has hosted several events. They had a teepee demonstration, which was a way for people to come out and see how they were set up. Students and faculty set up the teepee with the guidance of the people who brought it. Many different classes used the teepee for their class for the day, for a change of scenery. AISA also hosted a medicine bag-making event, which was a huge success. 

“We plan on hosting another Indian taco sale in the spring and a Spring Powwow, which is on March 30,” Wilson said. For the Spring Powwow, AISA plans on hosting vendors and other clubs as a big event for people. 

Students who would like to become more involved in AISA or learn about their upcoming events, the group can be contacted through their Instagram (@usao_aisa). 


Elyanne Kenney is a second-year psychology major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham
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About the Contributor
Elyanne Kenney
Elyanne Kenney, Contributing Writer
Elyanne is a third-year psychology major from Moore. She has a dog named Luna, and she really enjoys Taylor Swift and reading books. Elyanne can normally be found sitting in her apartment listening to music and hanging out with Luna.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Aug. 2023 - present