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Tree planting ceremony honors students

By Ashley Miner, Times Staff Reporter
On July 3, 2013

On May 22, in front of the H Building, a tree planting ceremony was held.  Rain or shine this ceremony was destined to take place. This event was initiated by the American Indian Student Services office in collaboration with the Native American Student Movement to bring awareness to the students, staff and faculty that have been part of MATC's American Indian student body. This is the first tree planted on campus by the Native Americans.
Greg Johns, advisor in American Indian student services office says, "We came up with planting an honor tree.  Native Americans are very much connected to nature. The tree that we chose was a River Birch tree, which is indigenous to Wisconsin; which Wisconsin is indigenous to native people."  The River Birch gave substenance for Indian people by providing food and materials, which provides a symbolic meaning and proper element to dedicate to the college. During the ceremony they planted tobacco which they consider sacred medicine. Putting their medicines with the tree would assist it in its growth.
The purpose of an honor tree planting ceremony was to recognize both past, present and future native people here at MATC.  One of the speakers was Herman Logan; one of the first people to organize the American Indians Student Services from 1970, then called the American Indian office which was organized by students. A drum performance along with an honor song was presented by Dale Kindness, educational assistant and cultural leader. Kindness said a few words honoring the tree of life [which can also be called tree of knowledge] saying thanks to the college for giving them the opportunity to make this symbolic gesture.
"It doesn't necessarily have to be a Native American thing, students that are unaware of the Native American culture should welcome this event. It's kind of similar to an Arbor Day or Earth Day or things of that nature. We can all get along with nature and represent MATC in how we grow," said Kindness. Katie Doxtater, president of NASM shared her sentiments by stating, "it was a great opportunity to have a visual for Native American students from the past, present and future; to show we are growing as long as the tree is growing."
The college should appreciate the splendor of a new tree and respect their contribution.  This dedication unites not just their heritage but the students of MATC as one. It's a tradition, a legacy that has been left behind for generations to come.  

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