The Climate Justice Collective (CJC) and the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) hosted an event titled “From Margin to Center: Indigenous Resistance and Tradition With Megan Schnitker” on March 18.
Schnitker grew up in South Dakota and now lives in Mankato, Minn. She is a community leader, educator and founder of the Mankato Revitalization Project. She is also the owner of Lakota Made LLC, a small business that creates sustainably harvested wild plant medicinals.
During the event, Schnitker discussed topics ranging from traditional healing methods and cultural practices to the importance of resistance and education concerning Indigenous rights.
Schnitker shared a few stories of her ancestors, reminding everyone of how long Indigenous people lived on this land before colonization. She discussed her tribe’s previously nomadic lifestyle and how it was violently changed, citing many examples of her tribe’s complex, interdependent, way of life for generations. She also emphasized that Indigenous cultures and traditions are still very active.
A proud mother, she emphasized the importance of understanding one’s heritage and continuing to educate young people about their ancestry.
After giving a history of the stolen land that now belongs to St. Olaf College, Schnitker discussed the importance of updating outdated laws that continue to oppress Indigenous populations in Minnesota and across the nation. One law that is technically still in effect dictates that some tribes are not allowed to legally leave their reservation. While laws such as this one are not regularly upheld, their precedent alone is dangerous.
When discussing natural remedies, Schnitker emphasized the importance of sustainable harvesting practices and urged people to harvest their own plants carefully rather than buying from companies that exploit natural resources.
If you are interested in learning more about traditional healing or Indigenous history, Schnitker recommends finding a teacher or reading books by Indigenous leaders.
Be sure to check out Lakota Made LLC for some wonderful homemade products.