NALSA host 11th Annual Indigenous Peoples Reception
Hundreds of people gathered at the Many Nations Longhouse on Friday to attend the 11th annual Indigenous Peoples Reception as part of a four day conference put on by the Public Interest of Environmental Law Conference.The Native American Law Student Association hosted the reception.
The four day conference brought speakers, activists, students and attorneys to the School of Law to discuss the most pressing environmental issues of the time. The name of this year’s conference was “One Cause, One Voice.” This title refers to the need to,”transcend trivial difference in ideology and superficial rivalries within the environmental movement,” according to the conference brochure.
The reception was open to the public and included food, music and speeches from the Native American community on campus. The Native American Law Student Association emphasized the importance of understanding that one must acknowledge native ownership of this land while discussing the land or its environment.
Co-directors of NALSA, Anna Brady and Brendan Keenan, began the event with an opening statement reiterating the purpose of the conference and also honoring the Many Nations Longhouse.
“The Longhouse is a unique sacred community space. It’s a space for sharing dialogue and for facilitating collaborative work in many different forms,” Brady said. “It is the home base for many native people in and around the university.”
For 11 years, the Indigenous Peoples Reception has recognized natives in Oregon on the UO campus. Both PIELC and the Many Nations Longhouse have created a reason for guests to return after every year.
“People at this conference come from all different backgrounds and experiences. We can all connect over some really good food and share some wisdom with each other,” said Keenan. “I’ll definitely be here next year helping out. Even after I graduate, I look forward to coming back every year for the rest of my life.”
The reception is on the first day of the conference. Many, like tribal liaison Dr. Jason Younker, were excited to introduce conference participants to what the Longhouse is all about. Younker often oversees the Many Nations Longhouse and is planning an event that will host more than 250 tribal leaders in August.
“You’re never arms length away from somebody that isn’t friendly,” Younker said. “There is always food and fun. That’s what a Longhouse is supposed to be.”