How a flag inspired me to reflect on my history

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Authored by: Vivi Caleffi Prichard, Diversity and Equity officer

Vivi Caleffi Prichard at Chemeketa's Flag-Raising Ceremony on March 6, 2020
Vivi Caleffi Prichard at Chemeketa’s Flag-Raising Ceremony on March 6, 2020

On Friday, March 6, our College held a tribal flag-raising ceremony to honor all nine federally-recognized tribes in Oregon.

A student, Purcell Sisto, recognized one of his tribes of the Ute by presenting his flag and sharing an honor song.

During the event, I couldn’t help but to reflect on my own history and the past that has been stolen from people like me.

I was born and raised in Brazil. My great-grandma was an indigenous woman from the Guarani tribe, who married a German man.

Purcell Sisto presents his tribe's flag at Chemeketa's Flag-Raising Ceremony on March 6, 2020
Purcell Sisto presents his tribe’s flag at Chemeketa’s Flag-Raising Ceremony on March 6, 2020

Although some of my grandma’s indigenous knowledge of plants and herbs was passed on to my grandpa, my mother’s generation assimilated into the dominant ways of being.

At Chemeketa, we aspire to help promote a sense of belonging for our Native American students and community and bring awareness to the history of colonial developments in Oregon.

The flags from the ceremony will be permanently displayed in the Student Center to recognize the Native American community and the sovereignty of the nine tribes.

When you see these flags, I hope you are also inspired to learn about your past and honor the history of each other.