UNM Students Hold ‘Indigenous Day’
This past Columbus Day, students at the University of New Mexico celebrated ‘Indigenous Day’ for the sixth time to confront the impact of colonialism and Western expansion on indigenous peoples.
The student-run Native American Studies Indigenous Research Group is circulating a petition calling for the university to recognize October 12th as Indigenous Day instead of Columbus Day, said group member Dana Gillio.
“[The event began] about six years ago, when the students from the Native American studies department just got sick of hearing about Columbus Day,” Gillio said. “Knowing about the history and how mythological it is to celebrate Columbus Day is just important to Native Americans — especially at the University.”
Gillio said some highlights of Indigenous Day included a film screening of “Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i,” and the “Rock Your Mocs” event, which is an opportunity for participants to talk, listen to music, and speak on an open microphone.
“This year we are bringing out a native Hawaiian activist and filmmaker who made this film about the Hawaiian sovereignty movement,” Gillio said.
NASIRG member Lani Tsinnijinnie said, “We’re encouraging everyone to participate. It’s not just a day for native people — it’s a day for everyone. It’s about bringing people together instead of being divisive.”
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