ASNMU recently approved a resolution to formally recognize and support Indigenous People’s Day at NMU.
The next step in the process is a vote by the Board of Trustees to approve formal recognition of the day.
Several campus groups are collaborating to obtain formal recognition by the university, including the Native American Student Association (NASA) and the NMU branch of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).
“The idea of discovery was very much wrapped into Columbus Day. It’s important for people to realize that there were already people living here,” Martin Reinhardt, associate professor of Native American studies, said.
“We were already discovered. We’ve already been here a long time. There was no discovery there for us.” The students were diligent in their approach and put a lot of hard work into making this change happen, Reinhardt said. They stood by their cause knowing that they might meet resistance.
“I think the trend right now is that people are recognizing that celebrating Columbus Day really is a slap in the face to native people because of the atrocities that were committed against native people by countless others,” Reinhardt said.
Many people do not know about what Columbus really did and how involved he was in the genocide of indigenous people, Andreaka Jump, junior art and design major and vice president of NASA, said.
“It has been a lot of work, but it was really cool on the day that we did the petition drive to talk to students and NMU community members about Columbus Day and educate people about what really happened,” Jump said.
This article was amended June 14, 2016 to reflect the following changes.
ASNMU passed a resolution to formally recognize Indigenous People’s Day. The Board of Trustees has not voted on the issue.