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Four Directions brings awareness to Native American culture

The organization, led by president Diana Hernandez, aims at to bringing together students and Indigenous people, concepts and events.

Native American culture has become an increasingly more discussed topic in recent years as part of a cultural shift to be more inclusive in society.

While the organization was put in place when VSU first started the Native American and Indigenous Studies minor, any student with an interest in Native American and Indigenous issues can take part in the organization.

Four Directions is  not strictly a Native American or Indigenous community.

“It is made up students who are interested in issues involving culture, spirituality, environment, sovereignty, languages and a variety of other issues,” Dr. Lavonna Lovern, a professor of Native American and Indigenous Studies, said. “NAIS is an organization designed to research and understand all aspects of Native American and global Indigenous concerns.”

Topics discussed by Four Directions have included languages and dying languages, political and legal issues, stereotypes, mascots and film and media.

While Four Directions is not a national organization, universities across the world have their own Native American and Indigenous organizations, each with their own mission goals in mind, according to Dr. Lovern.

Like most other organizations on campus, Four Directions took a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was primarily due to the organization not being able to meet regularly.

“The group had been fairly active since it began until COVID,” Dr. Lovern said. “However, we have a strong group that started this fall. They have already had meetings and are planning several events.”

With it being what Dr. Lovern referred to as a “rebuilding year”, Four Directions is currently meeting twice a month with a focus on discussions on Indigenous topics, with the assistance of their sponsors. In addition, the executive board has been meeting on Teams at different times to help with planning and organization.

There are no announced events currently, but those will be advertised when the organization finishes out all the details.

“They recently worked on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in their discussion meeting,” Dr. Lovern said. “They created ribbons for educational use and plan to do an on-campus event in honor of these women. This is cooperation with the international movement on Missing and Murdered Indigenous women.”

Story by Austin Bruce, staff writer. Photo courtesy of Four Directions.

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