Missouri State University’s Office of Multicultural Programs hosted an event with two guest speakers from the Earth Guardians, a global environmental and social justice organization, in the Plaster Student Union on Tuesday, Nov. 2.
This event is part of the ongoing National Native American Indigenous Heritage month set in November.
There were many topics discussed on the panel, however, the main idea was how mental health is viewed in communities of color.
Leala Pourier, a member of the Oglala Lakota and Cheyenne River tribes, said, “In a lot of black and brown cultures it’s taboo to talk about mental health because we’ve been colonized for so long that it’s hard to be able to actualize our emotions, and be able to talk about them, because we’re in survival mode.”
This brings to light how mental health is a serious problem left unaddressed in communities of color.
“There are so many different levels to people not seeking mental health,” Nina Berglund, a member of Northern Cheyenne and Ogala Lakota, said. “There’s not a lot of therapists of color and that’s definitely a barrier for some people.”
Pourier went on to say that asking for help is the first step to healing, and if you ask people they’ll tell you it’s worth it.
Linda Sue, a freshman Geospatial Science major and a member of the Yaqui, Apache and Mayan, said, “I found [the event] very emotional and it hit very close to home with me being a Native person. It really reiterated the types of research I have done, and really showed me the work we need to do to keep the indigenous culture thriving.”
A full schedule of events for Native American Indigenous Heritage month can be found here.
Follow Shane Sansom on Twitter, @shane_sansom
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