I’m embarrassed to say that I have never noticed the signs on Pitzer’s campus before. Perhaps it could have something to do with the fact that I don’t often spend a lot of time at Pitzer. More likely, I have probably remained oblivious to the signs because I come from the white privilege of living my life in a way that allows me to do so. My family came here about a hundred years ago. And, before my family or any other European-immigrating family, there were Native Americans who lived on this land. I live my day-to-day life as the colonizer–not as the one who was pushed out. In thinking about what I see and what I don’t based on my political positionality I would like to give myself a goal for the year–to notice things. I want to notice something new every day. And, when I notice things I want to take action. To me, at this point, that doesn’t mean changing an entire system. Taking action means being conscious every day. Noticing the world around me and letting that spark conversation, dialogue and a general way of life.
Education, much like media, colonizes the mind. The school system feeds information to students beginning before many of them can even talk. And, the school system has shaped a narrative of American history. It is a narrative that silences Native American history. Academia has also silenced the Native American narrative. The Claremont Colleges are literally built on Native American land, yet we have no Native American Studies major. As an American Studies Major I took my very first Native American History class last semester (as a junior). And, there is only one required for a whole major about the history of America. I think it’s really important to acknowledge the physical colonization that has taken place in this country. I think it’s equally important to redress the mental colonization that repeats with every child who enters the Western school system.