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Diversity Board helps Marian mark Native American Heritage Month

Diversity Board helps Marian mark Native American Heritage Month
Susan Rosenlof
Blue Bird Initiative dancers

Story by Nika Kouassi '25

To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, year Marian invited the Blue Bird Cultural Initiative to perform, discuss, and enlighten the girls on their Native American culture. According to Executive Director Nicole Benegas, the organization, led by Native directors and staff, is focused on revitalizing cultural practices, traditions, and traditional arts.”

As a collective community, Marian has not been exposed to Native American Cultures, other than through history class, and all were excited with no idea what to expect. Beats from the percussion instruments filled the East gym as the performances began. Flashing colors and smiles quickly took over the crowd for the 45-minute presentation. The cultural chants and facts touched the hearts and enlightened minds of those in attendance.

Native American Heritage Month occurs annually in November and has been a worldwide month of recognition since 1990. The Marian Diversity Board under the leadership of Ms. Ty Nared planned several things to commemorate Native American Heritage Month. Along with the hour-long Crusader Activity Block dedicated to Native American history and culture, students helped further build awareness of the month

Diversity Board, led by Nared is a group of 12 juniors and seniors at Marian. Their main purpose is to oversee and facilitate diversity, belonging, and inclusion. Junior Liz Nguyen diversity board member, explains her duties for Native American Heritage Month: She says a lot of the work she created was a mix of her individually and with Nared. “Before November started, I designed a poster… so now there’s a Native American Heritage Poster in the bathroom stalls.”

 “We also did some content creation for social media and some banners to bring some awareness for Native American Heritage Month.”  As the social media chair, Nguyen communicated plenty with Nared on what the Diversity Board’s Instagram posts regarding Native American Heritage Month should say and look like. Some other things Nguyen did include “talking individually with students, with my friends, we also met with STUBO who highlighted Native American Heritage Month in their small stall talks.” 

The most rewarding experience from native American CAB for Nguyen was “the student body being exposed to these cultures, things that they have never seen before. I’ve never seen a Native American performance in person, so I think it’s a rewarding experience for girls to get a diverse experience at Marian and get to experience all these cultures in person.”

The work of the Blue Bird Cultural Initiative reminds us of why it is important for a school with one predominant race to be knowledgeable on minority cultures:

”I think, especially if you’re looking at high school, is that most of the colleges are very multicultural. And so being able to relate to or having some baseline understanding of where maybe some other people may be coming from and how to best work with other people and be involved with them and either academic areas or if they’re working in careers, to hopefully help everybody to understand each other a little bit more,” Benegas said.

Though Native American Heritage month has ended, the Marian community is leaving with new found knowledge and the hope of understanding other cultures better in the future.