Native American student Alliance club brings awareness to diversity

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Sierra Hippel

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Native American student Alliance club brings awareness to diversity

Joanna Tom and sophomore participant Will  Raymond making Earth day posters, and Native American Student Alliance posters on April 24. These posters are put up in the cafeteria.

Joanna Tom and sophomore participant Will Raymond making Earth day posters, and Native American Student Alliance posters on April 24. These posters are put up in the cafeteria.

Photo submitted by Joanna Tom

Joanna Tom and sophomore participant Will Raymond making Earth day posters, and Native American Student Alliance posters on April 24. These posters are put up in the cafeteria.

Photo submitted by Joanna Tom

Photo submitted by Joanna Tom

Joanna Tom and sophomore participant Will Raymond making Earth day posters, and Native American Student Alliance posters on April 24. These posters are put up in the cafeteria.

“It’s to bring students together with a commonality and connection to being Native students, to bring them together socially, emotionally and to connect with their culture,” school phycologist Jennifer Kern said.

The Native American Student Alliance club is a fairly new club to the school. The club started to evolve and meet around November. The club meets on Wednesdays at 2:15 p.m. in room C214. The coordinators of the club are Jennifer Kern and paraprofessional Joanna Tom.

The club was first brought up by the Native American Parent Advisory Committee. Tom had heard the idea, later getting Kern involved as well. They worked to put the club together and begin to make students aware of it.

The club is still being put together with about six students involved. They wanted to start the club to honor Native American students, along with making all students feel included and united as one. They strive to create awareness of students with all different backgrounds.

Tom said that their main goal is “that students we meet and their friends they bring in feel like they are seen and heard as Native students and that they don’t have to assimilate to the predominate culture and also that they have a place to explore who they are.”

There are currently about 2,898 students enrolled in the school, including the ALC. Approximately 1.5 percent of parents listed their child’s race as Native American/Pacific Islander from grades 9-12 on Skyward.

There’s a sense that they check their identity at the door and forget that this could be an enrichment of greater diversity of understanding different students, and different backgrounds and cultural backgrounds.”

— Jennifer Kern

“There’s a sense that they check their identity at the door and forget that this could be an enrichment of greater diversity of understanding different students, and different backgrounds and cultural backgrounds,” Kern said.

The participants of the club join not only to be a part of something so unique, but to connect with each other. Above all, they want to honor and celebrate the diversity our school holds. It is a great way for students to feel like they relate to each other and belong to a tight knit community.

Junior participant Lillian Cichon said that when she goes to the club she can actually meet people who are Native American that she did not even know went to the school, and that it’s really nice to see them there and feel united as a group.

The club has posters up in the cafeteria for all students interested in joining. They hope for awareness to continue to spread and to evolve as time goes on. They hope for more education in the building about Native American students and culture to strengthen, and for students to be able to see unique ideas and perspectives held in the future of the club.

“We don’t only want to have Native students involved, but we definitely want it to be a place for the Native students to be heard, and so that other students in the building and staff recognize that there is a Native presence in Stillwater,” Tom said.

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