On the afternoon of February 2, the faculty voted to change the name of the Monday of Fall Weekend to Indigenous People’s Day.
This vote came after months of controversy surrounding op-ed publications by the Brown Daily Herald. Resistance to these publications culminated in a die-in protest on the Main Green organized by Native Americans at Brown (NAB) in October of last semester. However, Floripa Olguin ’16, one of the coordinators of the die-in protest and a member of NAB was quick to point out that this vote was about far more than the Herald publications.
“The significance of a name speaks to the historical legacy of Brown,” she said. “Centering the dialogue on Indigenous People’s Day speaks to Brown’s ability to learn from the past and move into the future. A lot of people have criticized us by saying that we are trying to erase history, but I think we are trying to broaden [the campus’] view of that time in history.”
At 2:00 p.m today, October 9th, students dressed in red and black gathered in front of Sayles Hall on the Main Green. They laid down on the concrete for 52 minutes and 30 seconds, with still bodies and resolute intentions. Their actions paid tribute to the 523 years of resistance in the Indigenous Peoples community of the Americas. Their silence resonated as passersby made their way to class, with strong wind being the only audible noise, occasionally disturbing the cardboard signs.
When asked for the statement, Sierra Edd ’18, one of the members of Native Americans at Brown said, “We, collectively as NAB, feel that the BDH had many chances to consider not including Monday and Tuesday’s columns in their paper. In including them, there were powerful and painful implications for many students. Their formal apology is not enough; we ask for structural changes and a preventive action in the future.”