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OCU Declares Indigenous Peoples’ Day

by Rod Jones

Oklahoma City University President Robert Henry declared today Indigenous Peoples’ Day during a ceremony at the Chickasaw Warrior Garden on campus.

Henry made the declaration in support of Native American culture and campus diversity on a day that is traditionally observed as Columbus Day. The ceremony included a Choctaw hymn sung by Rev. Sharon Yeahquo of the Mary Lee Clark Memorial United Methodist Church in Del City, a drum song performed by Cortney Yarholar of the Sac & Fox and Creek nations and a speech from Henry. Rev. David Wilson provided the opening remarks.

“It’s important that we realize this isn’t just something to celebrate today, then forget about Native American contributions the rest of the year,” Henry said. “That is not what this campus is all about, and that is not what this day is all about.”

Henry discussed a story from the book “Winona’s Web” by author Priscilla Cogan about how the Lakota Sioux tribe encourages its people to organize their lives, learn new things and listen to the opinions of others.

“There’s something to be said that we need to sacrifice individually for the good of the whole. There’s no one who can teach us that better than our native peoples,” Henry said.