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Students holding signs for IPD

Monday, October 9th was Indigenous People's Day (IPD, for short)! Dartmouth boasts a large and vibrant community of native and indigenous students who represent countless tribal nations and communities. IPD is a day for us to celebrate indigenous resilience and presence in higher education, especially at institutions like Dartmouth! I myself am Native Hawaiian, and I was super excited to celebrate IPD this year after I was introduced to it during my freshman fall.

IPD at Dartmouth consists of many events, but my favorites are the indigenous fly-in program (IFI) for high school seniors and the demonstration on the Green.

Indigenous high school seniors interested in Dartmouth are encouraged to apply for the annual indigenous fly-in program (IFI), which takes place every October around IPD! I attended IFI my senior fall, but my program was held virtually due to COVID-related constraints. It has definitely been fun seeing how IFI has shifted back to in-person programming! The students I've been able to meet are so bright and excited to experience Dartmouth - and I think that IFI is a really great way for these prospective students to explore and engage with our school.

IFI students usually stay for about 2-3 days, and they are hosted by current students. I didn't have much space in my own dorm room to host an IFI student; however, some of my friends were able to host and they had great experiences.

The campus demonstration occurs on the Green on Monday, during IPD itself. Many indigenous students wear clothing and accessories from their cultures, and I love seeing everyone's outfits when we form a circle on the Green together. The demonstration is a very poignant time where students can step into the center and share anything that might be on their mind. Sometimes students make a speech, recite a poem, or just express gratitude for everyone being there today.

Many of us also had homemade signs pertaining to IPD and being indigenous. My personal sign read, "They couldn't take the mana", a tribute to the song Couldn't Take the Mana by Mana Kaleilani Caceres. In the Hawaiian language, "mana" means "power"; the song relates to the struggles that Native Hawaiians have faced throughout our history and that despite it all, our power and collective strength remains.

I'm super grateful to have experienced my second-ever IPD at Dartmouth, and I'm looking forward to more in the future! Dartmouth and its history are nowhere near perfect, but I appreciate that native and indigenous students have this day to celebrate and recognize just how beautiful being indigenous is.

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