by Ariel Clark, Staff Reporter

With the majority of its members graduating last year, NAISA has all but disappeared from Simpson’s campus. Current advisor Tisha Carter-Smith is hoping to jumpstart the club and begin planning events

The Native American and Intertribal Students Association (NAISA) is an organization with a chapter at Simpson. The chapter has been a part of Simpson since 2019. Similar to other student groups, such as Latinos Unidos and the Black Student Union, the association hopes to provide a sense of community for people who identify or wish to support individuals with unique cultural backgrounds. 

Before NAISA was officially formed, students would host and participate in events regarding Native people and topics. From a homemade Thanksgiving feast to educating others on Indigenous People’s Day, NAISA has been an active organization well before it was officially formed.

NAISA formed three years ago when Navajo citizen and first-year student, Shaya Curley, and her SC-101 class joined forces to create the group. Their passion led to them submitting an official constitution to the student government. Since then, they ran various events such as a T-shirt drive and quizzes.

One of NAISA’s biggest focal points was Indigenous People’s Day, according to Carolyn Dallinger, professor of social work and criminal justice. Their goal was to take the limelight off of celebrating Columbus, who was notorious for his mistreatment of Natives, and instead focus on Native culture and current issues Indigenous people face. This Monday will mark Indigenous People’s Day. 

Andres Prieto, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, will be a guest speaker on Indigenous slavery in Colonial Spanish America. 

The name uses the term Intertribal rather than Indigenous. The reason behind this stems from the founding student’s philosophy that anybody can join. They also felt as though it was vital to recognize the different tribes rather than clump them together into one. Instead, using the term intertribal allows the group to have a larger reach and focus more on the various cultures and issues faced by Natives throughout the land.

“Anybody can join NAISA,” said Dallinger. Students who wish to support people who identify as Native American or Indigenous can take part and help participate in the club’s events and activities. The goal of the club is to showcase modern issues faced by natives in America. Anyone is allowed to be an activist. Dallinger hopes “to see it continue on as a club.”

Students wanting to revitalize the club can speak to Tisha Carter-Smith, current advisor, or Carolyn Dallinger, former advisor.