MONROE – Close to 150 inmates and staff packed the Monroe Correctional Complex Twin Rivers Unit visitation room for the Native American Heritage Celebration Event.
Traditional songs, dances, and prayers were showcased at the event hosted by the inmate diversity committee during Native American Heritage Month. Recognizing individuals’ diversity and contributions, and treating all people with dignity and respect is a key value of the department.
It is important to highlight cultural diversity within a correctional facility. Awareness and appreciation can yield more effective communications between correctional staff and inmates. Inclusion and understanding one another can lead to safer facilities and communities.
Colors were presented and the event began with dancers entering from the back of the room. A Native American prayer song was shared along with a welcome. Speeches were given on topics including tribal history, Appaloosa horses, and struggles faced by Native Americans. Between speeches, the songs celebrated tribes and their traditions.
The staff at the Twin Rivers Unit hope to use these events as teaching moments.
The Twin Rivers Unit aims to host a diversity event each quarter and have different attendees at the events. Past events have included histories on Hispanics, Asian-Pacific Islanders, Europeans, and African-Americans.