Empowering Indigenous Scholars: IGSA is ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’
Their 2023 Native American Heritage Month event, held on November 3rd, featured Frank Waln performing and discussing his journey through higher education, coupled with a reception featuring food from indigenous-owned businesses. While providing native students with an enjoyable experience, these activities also provide a means of introducing non-indigenous faculty, students and community members to the diversity of indigenous cultures in education.
Harris mentioned that the organization hopes to plan more brunches with the Native American Support Program that support BIPOC-owned restaurants, as well as storytelling events which transcend all indigenous cultures for the winter season. As an organization, IGSA has made a strong commitment to sustainability and retention, recognizing how crucial consistency is to fostering positive environments.
Symbolizing the idea of “seven generations before you and after you,” the IGSA’s seven-sided emblem represents the organization’s dedication to fostering the current and future generations of indigenous students at UIC.
Harris emphasized that the relationships she has cultivated within the organization and the UIC community as a whole are the most fulfilling part of her work, a sentiment that she hopes is shared by her fellow IGSA members.
“Being able to have this group for me feels like a breath of fresh air sometimes,” Harris asserted. “Like I can just hang out and talk about everything and nothing.”