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FNSU raises teepee as “symbol”

90 minutes. That’s how long it took for the First Nation Student Union to raise their teepee for the first time.


The raising of the teepee on May 30 in preparation for the Salmon Bake was the culmination of over a year of discussion and planning. The teepee, which cost $2650 and was made by the Manataka American Indian Council, was bought for educational purposes, according to Gina Ricketts, Native American program coordinator at COCC.

The teepee acted as a backdrop for the Salmon Bake on May 31, according to Gabe Swazo, student and heavily-involved member of the FNSU.


“The main purpose is symbolism of the native peoples who used it as a home,” Swazo said. “It being there is very symbolic.”

The raising was “smooth,” according to Swazo, since the club had help from people from Warm Springs and others who had raised teepees before.

“It’s an amazing sight from any angle,” Swazo said.
Going above the budget

The FNSU finally got the teepee after a year of obtaining funds from different sources.

Originally, when the FNSU asked for funds from ASCOCC beyond their annual budget, the council denied the request because they didn’t want to set a precedent of giving “massive allocations” to student clubs, Kurt Killinger, director of legislative affairs, told The Broadside in the Jan. 29 issue.

“We’re huge fans,” Killinger said in the Jan. 15 meeting. “My concern is that you guys have a $6,000 budget and then [the teepee] is $2,600 on top of that budget.”

So Ricketts decided to use money from her budget as director of the Native American program to supplement it, at which point ASCOCC committed $1000.

Ricketts believes that the Native American program needs to commit because of the legacy the teepee will leave.

“It’s going to be lasting,” Ricketts said. “It’ll be here forever whether I’m here or not.”

Scott Greenstone | The Broadside



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