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Friday, May 14, 2021

AS event explores multiple facets of feminism

The Associated Student Social Issues Resource Center invited Shelly Vendiola, a professor from Northwest Indian College, and Dian Million, professor of University of Washington American Indian Studies, to talk about Indigenous Feminism. About eighty people, including Western students, community members, and Whatcom Community College students, listened and joined in discussion in Academic West, Thursday, Nov. 5.

Professor Shelly Vendiola, from NWIC, on the left, and professor Dian Million, from UW American Indian Studies on the right led the discussion Thursday, Nov. 5.
Professor Shelly Vendiola, from NWIC, on the left, and professor Dian Million, from UW American Indian Studies on the right led the discussion Thursday, Nov. 5.

Senior Wayne Rocque, a sociology and political science major, is the SIRC Outreach Coordinator, and his peers came up with the idea last June. “The goal is to show students that there is whole other story to tell,” he said. “Feminism isn’t a single story and isn’t a Western Eurocentric story.”

Vendiola and Million talked about women’s roles, gender roles, violence against women, violence against the environment, assimilation, colonization, industry stripping the land, losing ancestral roles, bad quality food causing health problems and many more issues that relate to indigenous feminism.

These are stories that need to be talked about, and often aren’t, Rocque continued. There are few students on campus geared to understanding our native communities and how we can serve them better.

Freshman Kenzie Killebrew was among the Whatcom Community College students at event. “I’m interested in intersectional feminism and I look for opportunities to be more educated,” she said. “Intersectional feminism encompasses different types of inequalities.”

Killebrew was impressed of the event. “The speakers did a great job explaining and educating at a pace so we could absorb the information and write it down,” she said. “It was a very informative and comfortable environment.”

Sophomore Maria Paz, another Whatcom Community College student, was also impressed. “This was from a different perspective than what I’m used to.”

Roqcue hopes to continue talking about Indigenous Feminism with students more, Rocque said. He plans to bring the event back and get more in depth.

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