Seeking a second chance
By Lucinda Hambly and Izzy Anderson - Staff Reporters
The Muckleshoot tribe have a rich and meaningful culture, even through the struggles of the past, one Muckleshoot Tribal College director said.
Dr. Denise Bill gave her pre- sentation, "The Muckleshoot," Monday morning in Building 2, as part of Highline's observation of Indigenous Peoples' Day.
Dr. Bill works as the exec- utive director of higher edu- cation at Muckleshoot Tribal College.
She has worked in public ed- ucation for more than 20 years. At this presentation, Dr. Bill brought up several other people to give their input regarding In-
digenous Peoples' Day. "1977 [was] the first pro-
posed Indigenous Peoples' Day," said Dr. Tanya Powers, Highline workforce and bacca- laureate education director.
However, the holiday offi- cially began in 1989, in South Dakota.
Highline first officially ac- knowledged Oct. 8 as Indige- nous Peoples' Day three years ago, as opposed to Christopher Columbus day, Dr. Powers said.
Four states currently recog- nize the day as Indigenous Peo- le's Day: Vermont, South Da- kota, Alaska, and Minnesota.
Dr. Bill also invited up the Muckleshoot Tribal College language department, who performed several songs in the Muckleshoot tribe's native lan- guage, Whulshootseed.
"They all stem from prayer songs. ...When we sing our songs, we communicate from
our hearts what we can't say with our words," said Clint McCloud, a member of the lan- guage department, who Dr. Bill said is "a friend of the Muckle- shoot people."
McCloud performed several traditional Muckleshoot songs, as well as an original composi- tion.
After presenting these
songs, McCloud lifted up both of his arms.
Lifting his arms up was a traditional "gesture of uplifting everyone," McCloud said.
Even though the indigenous people's culture is rich with tra- ditions like music, dance and art, it's also important to ac- knowledge the pain suffered by those that Christopher Colum- bus crossed paths with, Dr. Bill said.
"It is almost unbearable to discuss," she said. "He re- ferred to the indigenous peo- ple as savages. ...He killed 4 million people on San Sal- vador in four years, and that was just the beginning of what he'd do."
But despite these pains of the past, indigenous people contin- ue to strive for greatness, Dr. Bill said.
"We survive, we live, we heal, we stand together," she said. "We choose kindness, we choose respect."