Native American Heritage Month Makes Impact

native amBy Douglas Farra

In November the All Nations Native Organization, a group at the College of Southern Nevada, hosted the Native American Heritage Month, which had a series of events and presentations geared to this specific demographic. The goal was to empower Native-American students who attend CSN by dismantling stereotypes and providing educational support.

The final event of the month on November 29 was Leading a Tribe in the 21st century featuring keynote speaker William Anderson, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes. Anderson discussed issues facing the tribe and what it is doing to solve them.

The main issue currently affecting the Paiutes is a coal plant operated by NV Energy. The plant is emitting toxins into the air that travel into the Moapa Valley on windy days. This has caused many health complications for the Paiutes. Anderson has taken the initiative and ventured to congress to try to fix the problem. He has also attempted to discuss the issue with the Environmental Protection Agency with minimal success.

The power plant still operates and creates a health hazard but the Paiutes will continue to fight this problem.

“We’re not sitting here taking it; we’re trying to do something about it,” Anderson said.

In addition to handling legislative issues, the tribe is working to develop its own resources. The tribe is currently under contract with a California-engineering company to build a solar plant on the reservation. The first solar panels are scheduled to go up in June 2013.

“We did it,” Anderson proclaimed. “We are now the first Indian reservation in the country that will have industrial-sized solar.” The venture will create jobs, careers and skill sets for the Paiutes. It will help them to move into the 21st century.

“This is one of the biggest movements in our history,” Anderson said. “We’re setting an example [for other tribes].”

Native American Heritage Month is now over and the committee members of the All Nations Native Organization feel that the events were a success.

Committee President Lea Hallett said, “The purpose of the organization is to bring Natives together and let others know about their heritage.”

Committee Vice President Jac Cheshewalla said that her favorite event over the last month was on November 19 when the organization presented the movie “Smoke Signals”.

One of the functions of this on-campus organization is to overcome stereotypes that Native Americans face.

Committee Chair Dr. Chad Waucaush said it is especially important to address this issue at the level of higher education. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the issue that some schools use Native-American symbolism for mascots and school themes, but they are taking the true history out of context and portraying the culture wrong.

The committee is currently run by 15 members.

Committee Secretary Docian Molden said she had been attending classes for a year before she found out about the organization.

“The club is hard to find,” Molden said. “There are probably more Natives here that don’t know about it.”

Native American

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