Students arriving on campus for the Winter term were required to quarantine for a minimum of eight days. During a time when so many of our students are already feeling isolated and overwhelmed, the mandatory quarantine period can be especially difficult. In order to help students cope with the isolation and sustain their well-being during the quarantine period, NAP Director Sarah Palacios developed a plan to provide care packages for the more than 60 Indigenous students living on-campus this term.
Members of the Project Steering Committee helped procure supplies and assemble the care packages which included notes of encouragement from Native American Council members, stickers, modeling clay, colored pencils and coloring sheets created by Indigenous artists, notebooks, pens and pencils, tea, snacks, and stuffed animals. After the bags were assembled, the NAP and Project Steering Committee members hand delivered the care packages to each student’s dorm room prior to their arrival.
Although there is no way we could have anticipated this activity would be part of the “Advancing Pathways for Long-term Collaboration” grant, it demonstrates how the project is adapting during these extraordinary times. As we address necessary changes to the timeline of the grant—particularly during a global health and economic crisis that has disproportionately impacted Indigenous communities—this activity served as a reminder of the importance of centering Indigenous knowledges, empathy, accountability, and care within our work.