Since learning about the public art installation named Native Hosts created by Edgar Heap of Birds on campus (I know it was a while ago.), I have been mindful of recognizing those who used to live on the sacred land that we now comfortably live, work, study, and play on. As we approach Thanksgiving Day, Chance Kawar, a fellow Pitzer College student, and I introduced a resolution to the Pitzer College Student Senate this past Sunday, November 16th asking for the symbolic recognition by the Student Senate of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and strongly encourage the Claremont University Consortium to also recognize the day on all calendars.
As a student body, we pride ourselves on diversity and inclusivity. This is a symbolic action to demonstrate solidarity with the Indigenous community and to show them that we welcome their identities and cultural heritages. This is a means of promoting an inclusive campus climate as well as recognizing the struggles that many Indigenous peoples face to this day.
Through his art, Edgar Heap of Birds made me think of who used to live on the sacred land of Pitzer College that we are on. It was the Indigenous peoples and their sacred villages and communities that live here. Let’s recognize that.
A Resolution by the Pitzer College Student Senate
Introduced: November 16, 2014
Author(s): Senator Chance Kawar and Secretary Josue Pasillas
Topic: In Support of the Recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ Day by the Pitzer College Student Senate
WHEREAS, the second Monday of the month of October is currently designated as an official holiday—Columbus Day—by both the United States Federal Government and the State of California; AND
WHEREAS, the celebration of Columbus Day is considered offensive to many Americans because it celebrates the life of an individual widely credited with committing crimes against humanity and the ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and poverty that indigenous communities face today; AND
WHEREAS, in a community that prides itself on diversity and inclusivity, we have a moral responsibility to speak out against a holiday that misrepresents the core values and principles we stand for as a college; AND
WHEREAS, Native American and/or Indigenous students deserve to feel welcomed on a campus where they may feel both their identity and cultural heritage is both celebrated and recognized as legitimate; AND
WHEREAS, Native Americans and/or Indigenous peoples deserve to have an official holiday that commemorates their achievements and solemnly remembers the centuries of sacrifice, hardship, discrimination, and brutality which they have been systematically subjected to; AND
WHEREAS, many jurisdictions and municipalities throughout the nation have taken steps to replace recognition of “Columbus Day” with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in order to honor the aforementioned.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Pitzer College and the Pitzer College Student Senate officially censures the celebration and recognition of Columbus Day for any and all purposes on Pitzer College’s campus; AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Pitzer College Student Senate officially recognize the second Monday of each October as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” for all official calendar and celebratory purposes as a means of promoting an inclusive campus climate as well as recognizing the struggles that many Indigenous communities face to this day; AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Pitzer College Student Senate strongly encourages the Claremont University Consortium to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day on all calendars; AND
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon passage of this resolution, a final copy be delivered to Pitzer College President Laura Skandera Trombley, Pitzer College Acting-President Thomas Poon, Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Carlisle, Vice President of Communications Mark Bailey, Dean of Faculty Muriel Poston, and Chief Executive Officer of the Claremont University Consortium Stig Lanesskog.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Vice President of Student Affairs Brian Carlisle deliver an oral or written statement to the Pitzer College Student Senate upon consultation with the President and members of her cabinet.