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The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Indigenous Peoples’ Day showcases campus intersectionality

Image courtesy of CRC campus events
CRC held an event celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Monday. Many campus organizations came together to illuminate the indigenous American experience for students.

Institutional challenges, available services and highlights of their times at Cosumnes River College were some of the topics students discussed at Monday’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day event.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday in the United States that celebrates and honors indigenous American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.

Around 30 students from different ethnic groups came together in room 150 in the Winn Center to speak about their experiences as Indigenous, Asian American, Pacific Islander or Latinx.

“It’s really hard because we’re already seen as a hidden minority,” said Catrine Kaho, a Tongan psychology and biochemistry major. “We’re overlooked most of the time.”

Some students said they felt like they were only seen as money to colleges as well as not feeling supported by the school. Other panelists said they had to hide their racial identity going into schools.

“APIDA HAWKS has really helped, regarding bringing me out of my shell,” Kaho said.

APIDA HAWKS is one of the organizations on campus dedicated to helping Asian American, Pacific Islander American and Desi American students succeed in their college careers.

“We want our students to know that it’s okay to be who they are,” said APIDA HAWKS Director Raul Pasamonte.

Pasamonte said his goal is to help students know who they are and that they can be comfortable in their own skin. The Puente Project is also an important resource for students of any race or ethnicity, according to the coordinator of the organization.

“The goal of Puente is to promote student transfer to other colleges through culturally responsive and competent practices,” said Puente Counselor and Coordinator Liliana Mendoza.

Mendoza said she wants all the students to gain a strong sense of self through affirming their culture and voice in all spaces going forward. She said she also participated in the Puente Project when she was a student at American River College and was the one to bring it to campus in 2021.

Other campus organizations dedicated to Native American and Latinx students include NAHER and MI CASA. Both organizations attempt to give students the opportunities they need to pass and thrive in and out of CRC, according to their descriptions on the CRC website.

“School will always be here. You won’t. Take care of yourself,” Kaho said, advocating for student mental health awareness.

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