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No Columbus Day, Discovery "A Complete Lie," State MSU Boards

Updated: Oct 26, 2020

Author: Sergei Kelley

New boards in an MSU dorm claim call for “Indigenous People’s Day, Not Columbus Day” and claim his discovery “a lie.”

The new boards in McDonel Hall highlight Native American history, MSU’s Land Acknowledgement Statement claiming “Indigenous sovereignty,” and advertises four types of indigenous activism.

The 12 displays are lined on both ends of the hall, spanning most of the length of the hallway. The first board states “Indigenous People's Month.” The display ends with “Indigenous Activism & Movements,” and “Indigenous People’s Day, Not Columbus Day,” calling “it a complete lie” to believe Columbus founded the Americas.

“For starters, Columbus never landed in the United States. He actually sailed to the Bahamas,” a placard states. It further blamed Columbus for mass genocide and “500 years of colonization.”

The movements board calls for “Goodbye Columbus Day.” It cites Albuquerque, Cambridge, Portland, and Seattle as replacing the holiday “to recognize and celebrate original communities” with Indigenous People’s Day.”

Another display placard describes Indigenous People as “pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies” who are the “original owners and caretakers of a region.” In Michigan the three major modern tribes include the Chippewa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi.

The second of four native movements was in October 2019 at the American Museum of Natural History where 500 protesters entered to “criticize exhibits” and hold an “Anti-Columbus Day Tour.”

Next the placard showcased an “Indigenous-Led Global Divestment Movement” to push cites, universities, and institutions to divest from “dirty fossil fuel projects,” like the Dakota Access Pipeline. So far Seattle has caved and has cut ties with Wells Fargo.

[James Madison College’s recent #Climatestrike forum also called for divestment]

The final, “Defenders of the Land” movement seeks native land free from “government or corporate funding,” which is “dedicated to building a fundamental movement for indigenous rights.”

These “Indigenous People’s Day” placards further discuss the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw which ceded over 6 million acres to Michigan and the United States. In addition, notable Native American figures are shown and the struggles of Native women whom “94%...have been raped or coerced into sex.” The board calls for drastic reform in the United States and Canada.

Placed just after this “Indigenous People’s Day” display is a bulletin board showcasing “Cross Cultural Participatory Citizenship.”

They describe how to be an ally, “a member of the dominant/majority group who takes an active stand against social injustice,” defines intersectionality, self-exploration, and “intent vs. impact.”

Cited as an examples for allies are “white people who speak out against racism or “heterosexual identifiers” who speak out against heterosexism and homophobia.

Ways to become an ally include five components. Some include “understand your privilege,” “speak up not over”, and to “acknowledge and fix mistakes.”

[White Privilege boards were recently found in MSU Akers Hall]

Included in the bulletin is a multicolored wheel of "integrated” social identities. Such identities include race, sex, gender, and many others.

Described as “Self-Exploration,” this includes “affirming all identities,” “power & privilege,” and “systematic nature of oppression.”

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Photos of displays

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