An inclusive, unifying new Native American club welcomes all students

A new Native American Club in Skyline was established on Feb. 23rd to hold discourse about current issues affecting Native Americans and to raise funds.

The new club holds meetings every Thursday at 11 a.m. along the Fireside Hall. Chuck Cecil, an Anthropology professor at Skyline College was asked by his Native American students in his Anthropology 360 class to be the new club’s adviser.

The goal of the club is to expand the awareness of students of Native peoples and their history, according to Cecil. Raphael Clark Faust, the club’s president, said he wanted to start this club to increase Native representation on campus.

“I noticed the lack of representation of indigenous people in Skyline College,” Faust said. “I saw all the different clubs and I wanted to show people that we, Native Americans, are still here.”

Besides increasing representation, the club strives to hold discourse about current issues regarding urban Native Americans and to raise money for the protection of sacred sites and poverty-stricken reservations, according to Faust.

While the club has multiple goals, educating the student population about Native peoples is the main focus.

“I’m hoping this club can change the perception of Natives and educate people on who they are,” Faust said. “Many people from south of the border have native blood and have been colonized. They might have forgotten about their Native roots and we hope to educate those who may not be aware.”

Any Skyline student can help the new club attain their goals of educating the student population and raise funds for their causes. Both Cecil and Faust noted that non-Natives who are interested are welcome to join.

Faust said a student should not worry about being “not Native enough” and encouraged them to consider joining the club. Mixed race students will not be criticized for contributing to the club simply because they are not largely of Native American descent.

“We don’t discriminate against blood quantum,” Faust said.

Another reason interested students are encouraged to join is because the club is the only one in the District that offer these opportunities to Native Americans specifically.

“I know SF State (San Francisco State University) has SKINS, which stands for Student Kouncil of Intertribal Nations but I haven’t found any other similar clubs offered by our sister colleges,” Faust said.

By educating Skyline students, being actively engaged in Native Americans’ current social issues and financially supporting causes related to them, the club hopes to achieve a sense of unity.

Faust stressed that the club’s inclusiveness will unify various ethnic communities. Unity is crucial during instances of oppression and discrimination, but also during times of celebrating the community’s accomplishments in society.

“I hope we can gather people and educate not just the Indigenous communities, but all communities in the United States,” Faust said. “Our club can bring people together during better or worse times.”