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Celebrate MTU’s vibrant cultures with this weekend’s Parade of Nations

 This coming Saturday (Sep. 18), the 32nd annual Parade of Nations occurs once again! It starts at 11:00 a.m. by the Chamber of Commerce office downtown. Due to construction on the roads and Lift Bridge, the parade will head down the hill to Lakeshore Drive, past Dee Stadium and follow Lakeshore Drive past Bridgeview Park, ending at Kestner Park. Unlike previous years, the parade won’t go through downtown this year.

Over fifty countries and organizations have already confirmed their participation for this Saturday, with some wiggle room for more people to join. Countries like Argentina, Denmark, Ghana, India, Mexico, Nigeria, and the Philippines will be represented through student involvement. Other organizations like the Huskies Pep Band, Bangladeshi Student Association, and Keweenaw Faiths United will walk in the parade, along with mascots Blizzard T. Husky of Michigan Tech and Riku F. Lion of Finlandia University.

Usually, the Multicultural Festival would occur after the parade, but COVID-19 precautions forced the cancellation of the festival this year. However, they plan to be back in 2022. The festival typically showcases foods from numerous cultures, along with live acts performing music. In the past, there was a smorgasbord  of Thai, Scottish, Indian, Chinese, Finnish, and Anishinaabe dishes for festival attendees to enjoy. 

As always, First Nation people (Native Americans) lead the procession to remind our community about who first lived in the Keweenaw and the cultures initially oppressed by the United States government. Additionally, the Keweenaw is still First Nation territory, under the Treaty of 1842. Featuring First Nations, such as the Anishinaabe, in the beginning of the parade validates their rightful existence in the Copper Country.

Events like Parade of Nations highlight the variety of campus and local culture. It’s not a single, homogenous bubble that’s often assumed from population statistics. Instead, nationalities bring their cultures to create and strengthen customs to celebrate the Keweenaw’s multiculturalism. First Nations like the Anishinaabe aren’t acknowledged as often in our campus culture as they should be. Their cultures were among the first to define what the Keweenaw is about, valuing the land and its resources for hunting and fishing. With more people arriving for either education, work,or residence, it’s crucial to acknowledge how diversity shaped the current climates of the area. Events like Parade of Nations reinforce these concepts of diversity.

For more information on the weekend’s festivities, you can visit the Parade of Nations website.


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