Social Justice Group Addresses Native American Culture

%28Photo+by+Kiffer+Creveling%29

Kiffer Creveling

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)
(Photo by Kiffer Creveling)

 
“We are probably, of all the ethnicities in the United States, the most misrepresented and the most misunderstood,” said Franci Taylor.
Taylor, the director of the U’s American Indian Resource Center, is a member of the Chahta Tribe. She shared her story about being an American Indian with students at a Social Justice Scholars event, where she spoke of both the diversity and the oppression of the ethnic group.
“The amount of diversity in Indian cultures is profound,” she said. “We have more diversity than any other ethnic group within what is called Native Americans.”
The event came at the end of Native American Heritage Month, which was celebrated at the U with socials, cultural dances and movie showings.
Taylor talked about the struggles she faced growing up and the modern issues facing American Indians, such as the high rate of youth suicides among tribes.
Annet Unda, a sophomore in finance and one of the organizers, said her group decided on the speaker because of the event’s proximity to Thanksgiving. The lecture drew an audience of nine students. Unda said this is a typical turnout and fitting to the type of topics discussed.
“We want people who can contribute and that we can educate as well,” Unda said.
Sara Blalock Ng, a sophomore in mathematics, said part of the purpose of the Social Justice Scholars group and events like this is to “incite change.”
“We have the wider range of programs to educate ourselves about new social justice issues that aren’t really on our radar,” Ng said.
The U’s Social Justice Scholars group is a learning community of 20 students in the Honors College who are interested in issues dealing with privilege, opportunity and social class.
Ng is in charge of the next event by the group, which will be a discussion of language in African refugee communities in Utah. The lecture will take place on Dec. 5 in the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanities Building from 7 to 8 p.m.
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