On Monday, October 11th, Eric Hogenson, Director of Grades 3-6 & STEAM Innovation K-6, helped us honor and celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. He started the morning with a school-wide land acknowledgement, honoring and remembering the Chumash Indigenous People, who originally inhabited and cared for the land we learn on each day at Laurence. “We remember that the Chumash peoples of this area have been separated from these lands, unable to maintain livelihoods as they should, unable to recreate traditionally, unable to maintain traditional lifeways freely, and unable to have the same access to their lands that we are provided,” he shared during the acknowledgement. (Click here to read the full text.)
Throughout Monday and Tuesday, Mr. Hogenson also visited our classrooms to read and discuss Sharice's Big Voice: A Native Kid Becomes a Congresswoman, by Sharice Davids, one of the first Native American women elected to Congress and the first LGBTQ+ congressperson to represent Kansas. The book prompted discussions about how everyone – no matter their background – can use their voices to stand up for what’s right and bring about changes to help people. In each of the grades, Mr. Hogenson took the opportunity to teach students about aboriginal tribal lands, reservations, and how congressional members represent the people in their districts.
Additionally, some classes studied Billy Mills, an Oglala Lakota American Indian from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. He won the 10,000 meter race at the 1964 Olympics, and some have called his win the greatest upset in the history of the Olympic games. Click here to learn about Mills.
Having Mr. Hogenson lead our Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration and discussions was particularly special because of his own ancestry and personal connection to this important day. Mr. Hogenson’s maternal grandfather was nearly full-blood Chippewa Ojibwe from the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota. Mr. Hogenson recently learned that his lineage is directly tied to Chief Little Shell, who inspired his Turtle Mountain followers to hold out against being tied to a reservation in the late 1800s. Just last year, the Little Shell band of Chippewa were granted federal recognition as a tribe. Mr. Hogenson and his siblings are currently waiting to hear if their application to become enrolled tribal members of the Little Shell tribe is approved.