Office of Multicultural Affairs Celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Week


The Office of Multicultural Affairs hosted “La Cure: A Healing Circle” featuring a spoken word performance by guest speaker Alan Pelaez Lopez. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Oct. 12 through Oct. 16 was Indigenous Peoples’ Week, a week to celebrate the legacy of Native and Indigenous peoples and recognize the impact of colonialism on those communities.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) hosted an event for Indigenous Peoples’ Day called “La Cura: A Healing Circle” with guest speaker Alan Pelaez Lopez on Oct. 13. The event featured a spoken word performed by Pelaez Lopez. Participants had the opportunity to reflect on their own feelings of happiness, joy and what they’d like to remind themselves that they deserve. 

“Many people reflected on the event and felt that they were able to authentically share their thoughts. It was a great event,” said Lilibeth Ramos Flores, OMA’s graduate intern. 

The event was held to collaborate between Native and Indigenous Peoples’ Month (NAIPM) committee, Latinx Heritage Month committee and LGBTQ+ History Month committee. 

” [We want to ensure] that we are consistently taking time to remember the history of indigenous people and land where we currently reside,” said Juan Carlos Matos, assistant vice president for student affairs for diversity and inclusion.

Flores said the planning process was different from events in years past because they didn’t have to prepare for an in-person reception, plan for the performer to attend or make room and flight reservations. 

Flores said this was the first year that OMA identified a collaborative event for all of their committees to be a part of. 

“I’m sure future years will employ some changes and possibly additional collaborations with other departments on campus that want to share in this endeavor,” she said. “OMA’s hope is that participants of the event took away some self-care tips, stronger connection with their feelings, emotions and also recognizing the intersections of identities within Latinx, LGBTQ and Indigenous groups.” 

Matos said OMA hopes to explore planning more events to become a true week of programs in the future. He said they also might explore collaborating with other universities in the future.

Chanelle Dortch, FCLC ’23, one of the cultural programming coordinators (CPC) for Indigenous Peoples’ Month, said her committee posted information and facts about Native and Indigenous culture for Indigenous Peoples’ Week. 

Specifically, they posted graphics featuring notable Native and Indigenous people on their Instagram

“This was in no way a thoroughly planned event. Indigenous Peoples’ Week was just a way for us to continue to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day,” said Dortch. “Instead, we have been planning Indigenous Peoples’ Month which is next month in November! That is when we will have actual events, both virtual and hybrid planned for the Fordham community.” 

Dortch explained that most of her committee’s work is planning events for NAIPM, but they do other things like community outreach and collaborations with other committees and clubs. This includes their most recent collaboration with Latinx Heritage Month and LGBTQ+ History Month for “La Cura: A Healing Circle.”

Dortch said the committee started planning over the summer and are planning both virtual and hybrid events for next month. 

“We have been really focused on creating events that hold attention and are fun for those online and in-person. I think we have done a good job so far, but I guess we won’t know until November rolls around,” she said. 

She said they will have more details about their events and will be posting an event calendar on Instagram closer to the start of November.

“I hope people learn something new about Native and Indigenous culture by the end of NAIPM,” said Dortch. “There are so many harmful stereotypes that plague Native communities, so our ultimate goal as a committee is to educate people so these stereotypes can be stopped. In addition, we are a resource for both students of Native backgrounds and for students who truly want to become better allies to the Native community.” 

The NAIPM committee is still accepting applications through the link in their Instagram bio. You do not have to be from the Native community to apply.  

Programming for Native and Indigenous Peoples’ Month will take place in November as a mix of virtual and hybrid events. Matos said specifically, the Native American Festival will take a new form with components at Rose Hill, at Lincoln Center for the first time, and virtually.

OMA is also actively recruiting for its spring committees, and  the Deeper Dialogues program has also been kicked off.