Students bring awareness to cultural issues through podcast


Multiple members of the Indigenous Students Club participate in a meeting during conference.

Multiple members of the Indigenous Students Club participate in a meeting during conference.

The Indigenous Persons Program is a club that brings awareness to issues that are not discussed enough here in the community, such as native history. The purpose of this program is to educate, bring awareness, and celebrate the cultural diversity of being indigenous. Many students do not know a lot about this topic, and that is why it is very important that this program sheds light on unseen issues. 

The club is open to all, whether it be Native Americans, allies, educators, or anyone else that is interested in taking part. Junior Sumaya Quitugua started off as a student representative her freshman year, and this year she is president of the club. Sumaya is very involved in the club, feeling very passionately about the message surrounding it. 

“I believe our main message is that we are not people you walk by wearing a headdress or prance around the classroom walking to tomahawk chop; we are not your generic costumes; we are not your mascots; we are not the ‘something else’ category, and we are not a blank slate. We are people. I think people forget that,” said Sumaya. Immersing yourself in this club, whether it be staff or students, can help bring awareness to cultural diversity. 

The club has been working to get involved in the community. “In quarter one, we participated in the school’s carnival to earn money for future events for the club,” said Sumaya. The club is looking forward to getting more in touch with Perry students.

Students have been working to launch her new podcast, named the Indigenous Youth Podcast. This can be found at Sumaya’s Instagram, @sumaya.quitugua. Other students who are part of the podcast are junior Priscilla Hale, junior Dominique Walicke, and junior Janai Mathis. Their first episode launched on October 29th, and it was titled: Appropriation vs. Appreciation. It discusses the issue of appropriation of Native American culture, and how it should not be part of something such as a Halloween costume. They will be releasing more episodes soon, on important topics such as  Native American history, boarding schools, sexual trauma, and missing and murdered indigenous women. 

Janai Mathis explains how they came up with the idea of starting it in the first place. “We were just talking about ideas on expressing our thoughts, feelings and ideas on what it’s like to be indigenous,” said Mathis. The idea sparked from there.

Priscilla adds on this. “We started the podcast because we thought it would be a good idea to spread our voices out there, and have people acknowledge that there are still Native Americans out there. We want people to be more aware of the problems that occur,” said Priscilla Hale.

Mrs. Drivinghawk is the sponsor of the club, and she adds onto what her part in the club is. “My role for the club is to support the officers in conducting general club meetings and events. I support the students in making the Indigenous population at Perry here visible to all,” said Mrs. Drivinghawk.

The podcast can also be listened to on the Spotify app, under the group name “Indigenous Youth”. The first episode is around 2 minutes long. In the podcast, they state their origin and background and then go into talking about Halloween and the importance of being aware of what you are dressing up as. “There are limitations, such as culture, religion, and ethnicity,” as they discuss how asking questions about something you’re uneducated about is important, even if you don’t like the answer.

Students can continue to look forward to more episodes soon from the Indigenous Youth.