Earth Day Celebrated at Nebraska Indian College

Feb 15th, 1993 | By | Category: 4-4: The Pattern of Language, Tribal College News
By Jennifer Gray Reddish

Twenty-three years ago the first official Earth Day helped spark America’s fascination with con­servation and environmental pro­tection. However, Earth Day is nothing new for many native Americans for whom celebrating the land is not a holiday, but a way of life.

Nebraska Indian Community College’s Earth Day conference, “Working with the Earth: Honoring Indigenous People,” celebrated both traditions. The event was sponsored by the college and eight other regional tribes and organizations. It was also sponsored by Earth Day USA and was an official part of the now international day of environ­mental awareness.

Participants traveled from around the country, many staying at the conference site in campers, for the four day event which lasted from April 21-23 on the Winnebago reservation.

The conference “had a harmo­nious atmosphere,” says Tom Rice of Nebraska Indian College’s Development Office. “People got involved with the environmental movement as well as think about things they hadn’t thought about before.”

Each day began at dawn with a traditional sunrise ceremony. Seminars included “Interfacing Native American Medicine with Western Medicine” by Marilyn Young Bird of Native American Holistic Health; “The Challenges of Repatriation” by Elizabeth Sackler of the American Indian Ritual Object Repatriation Foundation; and “Native American Church” by Elmer Blackbird of the Omaha Indian Tribe.

Other speakers included Dr. Orville Lookinghorse, the Lakota- Keeper of the Sacred Pipe and Steven McFadden, representative of Earth Day USA.

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