Syracuse University celebrates 'Indigenous People's Day'

Syracuse University recently celebrated its second “Indigenous Peoples Day,” which the university adopted in 2016 to replace Columbus Day.

The school sponsored multiple events during the campus-wide celebrations, including a lecture on how to be an ally to indigenous peoples and a panel on “The Struggle for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights” co-hosted by the International Socialists Organization.

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“This recognition of Indigenous Peoples Day is just another step toward the general education about American Indians here in the United States,” student Kacey Chopito, president of the Indigenous Students at Syracuse organization, told The Daily Orange, asserting that Columbus Day celebrations merely reinforce negative stereotypes that portray Native Americans as savages.

“We come together as a campus community to recognize, celebrate, and honor the many contributions of indigenous peoples across the world,” explained Regina Jones, assistant director in the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Native Student Program, in a university news release. “Throughout the day, we encourage students, faculty, and staff to participate in the events to learn about indigenous peoples’ history and cultures and engage in dialogue.”

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The Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, a local advocacy group, also invited Syracuse students to join its celebration in Downtown Syracuse following the on-campus events.

There, more than 100 participants, including many Syracuse students and staff, showed up to support a petition calling upon local lawmakers to officially change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.

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